ESM will not seek an extension to its exclusive supply arrangement for the Nissan Onroak DPi after the end of this season.
Once the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season concludes and ESM’s two-year private supply deal has run its course with Onroak, interested buyers will have the ability to purchase the twin-turbo V6-powered DPi, provided they come to terms with the French constructor.
“We’ve had two years of exclusivity, which ends at the end of the season, and now we’re open to the package becoming available,” ESM co-owner/driver Scott Sharp told RACER. “We’d like to talk to other teams about coming in and working closely with us, work with our partners, and excel.”
Facilitated by ESM’s Sharp and Ed Brown, the contracting of Nissan to provide its GT-R GT3 engine, and for Onroak to supply its Ligier JSP217 chassis fitted with custom DPi bodywork, is the first of its kind in IMSA’s Prototype class.
Unlike the factory DPi programs created by Acura, Cadillac, and Mazda, the ESM Nissans have always been a customer-derived effort, which makes opening the door to other privateers a natural fit going forward.
With the Roar Before The 24 fast approaching, Sharp says potential Nissan buyers would be wise to make their inquiries sooner than later.
“That’s really a conversation that starts with Onroak, and yeah, I wouldn’t wait,” he said. “January will be here in no time.”
Although the ESM team has been plagued with misfortune this season, the rapid Nissan DPi scored a memorable win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, took pole on the streets of Detroit, and claimed two wins last year at Road America and the 10-hour season finale at Petit Le Mans.
With Acura believed to be on a three-year exclusive contract with Team Penske through 2020, Cadillac’s DPi family set for new expansion with JDC-Miller Motorsports, and Mazda unwilling to make its DPis available before 2020, the Nissan Onroak DPi could become IMSA’s go-to solution for playing among the factory prototypes.