It’s too early to say how many full-season entries will populate IMSA’s new LMP2 category, but the new loss of CORE autosport’s ORECA 07-Gibson from the grid has only added to the concerns for P2’s car counts.
With only a handful of the Pro-Am prototype entries expected in 2019, questions as to whether IMSA would go forward with the split DPi and P2 classes have arisen. According to IMSA president Scott Atherton, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s plans have not changed.
“Our commitment to LMP2 is unwavering,” he told RACER. “It’s a fair topic of speculation in referencing the limited number of LMP2 cars for the class, and now that CORE has opted to go to DPi with the Nissan — which we’re thrilled about — we know there will be one less entry in LMP2, but our commitment to the LMP2 class is unaffected by today’s news.”
Minus CORE, the PR1/Mathiasen team and Performance Tech Motorsports are the two main carryovers left from last year’s regular LMP2 entry base. The JDC-Miller Motorsports and GAINSCO/JDC-Miller LMP2 entries have shifted to the DPi class with Cadillac, and with CORE included, three of the five regular LMP2 competitors have left the class behind.
At the time of IMSA’s announcement for the Prototype class split, there were more than enough LMP2s to fill a podium of their own, but with the aforementioned moves to DPi, the series might have a justifiable reason to revisit the split for 2020 and beyond.
“Are we open to looking at how things develop into the future and how car counts become validated? Yes, but it’s no different than how we’ve always been open to listening to our entrants and considering changes if they need to be made,” Atherton added.
“We pride ourselves in going forward with what we announce, and this is no different with the LMP2 class, and we’ll just have to take a wait-and-see approach to see what comes to fruition.”
Looking at some of the options to backfill the P2 ranks, JDC’s ORECA 07s remain available for lease or sale, and PR1/Mathiasen has a second car — the Ligier JSP217 that was parked in favor of the 07 — available for use. As the final entry forms make their way to IMSA’s headquarters in Florida, the series is left to wait and learn how many cars will populate its P2 category next season.
“We’ve been speaking regularly with all of our LMP2 entrants, and those outside of our championship who are considering select events and some that are considering full-time programs, but we’re not ready to speculate on numbers right now,” Atherton said.