United Autosports’ switch from a Ligier to ORECA chassis for its single-car 2019/20 FIA WEC program could have a significant impact on the immediate future of the LMP2 class in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar championship.
US-flagged (but UK-based) United, co-owned by Zak Brown and Richard Dean, revealed to RACER that they have acquired no fewer than three ORECA 07 Gibson LMP2 cars – two of which (a primary race car together with a rolling spares package) will be dedicated to the FIA WEC program for Philip Hanson, Felipe Albuquerque and Paul di Resta.
A third car is set to be prepared for a European test program; the team then having the option to run the car in the 2020 European Le Mans Series. Two of the three ORECAs are the ex-JDC Miller ORECAs, campaigned in 2018 with some success before the team switched for the current season to its two-car Cadillac DPi program.
That’s a significant dent in the number of LMP2 cars available for any potential expansion of the currently two-car IMSA LMP2 field. Despite some customer interest in the class within North America, no additional programs have yet come to fruition.
The third United car is a brand new chassis. Initially destined to become the second car for PR1 Mathiesen, ORECA amended its production schedule ORECA to allow the new car to be delivered to United prior to the start of the season at Silverstone on 1 September.
PR1 Mathiesen will now receive its new ORECA some weeks later than originally schedule, but without any significant impact on the team’s plans.