CORE autosport’s change of direction to park its race-winning ORECA 07 LMP2 chassis in favor of taking over the former ESM Nissan Onroak DPis has come at a critical time for IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
With the loss of ESM from the grid following the departure of longtime sponsor Tequila Patron, IMSA was preparing to start the 2019 season without Nissan, its fourth DPi manufacturer. Despite a recent announcement confirming its intention to race in IMSA’s new LMP2 class, rapid developments made the ex-ESM cars available for CORE to make the leap to DPi while preventing the loss of a DPi manufacturer from the series.
“IMSA made the announcement they were splitting categories into DPi and LMP2, we wanted to stay in the top category — DPi — and we pursued all options at that time,” CORE COO Morgan Brady told RACER. “At which point, when we didn’t feel there was a DPi program that fit for us, we committed to P2.
“We knew DPi was still a goal for 2020, so we continued to pursue it longer term, but then some key pieces lined up, we flipped the switch for 2019 and will race a Nissan.”
CORE purchased all of the cars and spares that were used during ESM’s two-car effort from 2017-2018, and will field a single entry for the returning full-time squad of CORE owner/driver Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, and endurance co-drivers Romain Dumas and Loic Duval.
Although Brady declined to offer specifics, he did confirm the sizable financial commitment required to register Nissan as an official IMSA manufacturer for 2019, which served as the biggest hurdle other teams faced while considering the Nissan DPi package, has been satisfied.
“Watch this space,” he said. “There are more details to come, and it has been fulfilled.”