United Autosports team co-owner Zak Brown has confirmed that the U.S.-flagged, UK-based sports car team has halted its recent evaluation of a potential 2020 IMSA DPi program in favor of a likely 2019/2020 entry into the FIA World Endurance Championship.
UA has contested the European Le Mans Series for the past two seasons in the LMP2 class and also undertook a single-car effort in IMSA’s North American Endurance Championship (pictured) this season. The team decided to park ts U.S.-based Ligier JS P217 Gibson, campaigned with Andretti Autosport’s assistance, ahead of the season finale next month at Petit Le Mans.
The team had been evaluating a DPi program — understood to most likely have featured a McLaren customer engine — for 2020 but that plan has now changed, with an LMP2 entry in the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship now looking the more likely route forward.
“I’d like to see us do the World Endurance Championship, in addition to the ELMS, not instead. And we’re making progress with that,” Brown told RACER at Spa Francorchamps today, where the team took a double win in LMP2 (with full season Action Express IMSA driver Felipe Albuquerque and British youngster Phil Hanson) and in LMP3 (with American 2017 ELMS LMP3 champion John Falb and Australian racer Scott Andrews).
“With the DPi rules and them splitting the classes in IMSA, unfortunately, there’s two separate directions. And I think honestly we’re more likely to do World Endurance than run a team in America, because of where we’re based, too — it’s not an anti-IMSA thing. We’d do all three if we could…”
And, with the switch in the IMSA prototype class to a split DPi/LMP2 dual class system, Brown has also counted out a return in the LMP2 class, the team’s interest in IMSA having been focused on the potential for overall race wins in the championship’s highest profile events.
Brown also revealed that while United Autosports currently remained committed to the Ligier chassis in LMP2, that arrangement would only remain of the Ligier was ultimately competitive.
“We won’t race with any manufacturer we don’t think we can win with,” he said. “Whatever we race next year, and we intend to be with Ligier, it’s because we think we can win with it. If we thought we wouldn’t be competitive in a Ligier, I’d make the change.”