IMSA has seen gradual growth with its Pro-Am LMP2 class in recent years. From a low of two full-time WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP2 entries in 2019 and one in 2020, the class jumped to four cars last year and at least five are expected in 2022.
The upward trend has been positive, but with just five cars, the comparatively small number – it’s IMSA’s least-populated class – could easily tip in a worrisome direction if the series makes the wrong decisions about its future. At the forefront of the calls for IMSA to make is whether to delay the introduction of new LMP2 cars to the series.
LMP2’s most recent formula, which came online in 2017, is due to be replaced in the next year or two; all of the upcoming 2023 LMDh models are based on new LMP2 underpinnings. But with the vast popularity of ORECA’s 07 chassis, there’s no shortage of the French prototypes – every LMP2 entered at this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona is made by ORECA – to continue using for years to come.
Forcing LMP2 teams to abandon their 07s and incur the heavy costs involved with buying brand-new models could lead to another reduction in car counts, and with those concerns in mind, IMSA president John Doonan says the series is actively monitoring the topic.
“We’re continuing to gauge the marketplace here,” he said. “We’re continuing to have conversations with our partners at the ACO, Pierre Fillon, Thierry Bouvet, about what we do as a sport in this space. No decisions yet.
“But I think it’s something we have to continually analyze, based on the performance levels of LMP2, the expectations of what the top category cars, LMDh, will do in terms of performance, and try to make the best decisions we can for great competition and also be sensitive around car count.”