As well as looking at the some of the teams, cars, and personalities that won’t be around in 2018, we’ll also be looking forward on DSC, at what’s to come for the new sportscar season, which let’s not forget, starts in early January!
Next up IMSA’s DPi and the ACO’s LMP2 pack
Mazda RT24-P DPi Evo
There’s not a lot of difference to see on the surface, but the 2018 spec Mazda RT-24P is a vastly different package under its extraordinarily attractive skin.
A mid 2017 shift in the relationship between Riley and Multimatic saw Larry Holt and co take control of the programme that had been struggling on track.
Either way there would have been a comprehensive re-engineering of the car but the confirmation from the ACO that chassis as well as bodywork amendments would be permitted made life easier, the reworking package saw better cooling and an entirely different suspension construction emerge and, so team sources tell us, the car transformed in late season testing.
The addition of a new exhaust set-up will also see the car sounding differently for the coming season.
Mazda’s signing of Team Joest though could well prove to be just as important, Ralf Jüttner and co replace the now defunct Speedsource outfit and the changes are already apparent, a new look driver line-up brings international talent to join the traditional Mazda talent pool.
Great things are expected, and there seems to be precious little in the package that should now be a reason why that expectation can’t be realised – aside from the growing strength of the competition that is!
Acura ARX-05 DPi
No so much a ‘Will they, won’t they?’ as a ‘When will they?’ Penske’s return to the sportscar racing fray comes after a ‘warm-up in a Gibson-powered car at PLM, in a full season in IMSA in 2018.
The new ARX-05 is based on the dominant ORECA 07 with big power from a hugely well proven Acura J35 twin turbo V6, the same basic engine that has already taken both a Le Mans 24 Hours win (for Starworks in 2012) and the subsequent WEC title.
The regular Penske formula is on clear display here with a stellar driver line-up alongside their regular engineering excellence. With the Mazda Joest effort taking a step up for the season too, and the already clear attributes of the Cadillac effort and a highly convincing ESM Nissan campaign, plus strength in depth in the Gibson-powered P2 ranks this all comes together for one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons in recent memory!
Multimatic/Riley Mk.30 ‘Joker’
Riley Multimatic’s LMP2 offering gets the same comprehensive package of updates at its Mazda DPi sister car, and, in common with all of the ‘Joker’ updates, the changes must be made to customer cars at the chassis constructor’s expense.
BAR1 are the only take for the car thus far in 2018, Brian Alder’s ex LM PC squad obtaining the ex Ben Keating chassis that has tested thus far only in non-Evo trim.
Ligier JS P217 ‘Joker’
Ligier’s JS P217 was permitted both its regular and Le Mans Only aero packages to be revised for the coming season under the ‘Joker’ rule, news that was not well received by arch-rivals ORECA who were not permitted to amend either of their bodywork sets.
The Ligier decision was perhaps more surprising because of the race-winning form of the car, at least in United Autosport’s hands, in the ELMS.
Dallara P217 ‘Joker’
Dallara were initially only allowed an amendment to their Le Mans ‘kit’ but that was later extended to the baseline kit too after the Italian constructor appealed, citing clear evidence of a major issue with their front splitter, a part common to both aero kits. That effect was most obviously seen at Sa where the cars were porpoising wildly at the end of the Kemmel Straight, a behaviour that DSC’s sources tell us is now no longer present on the revised cr!
IMSA ‘BoP’ Divergence
In rapid succession we have had revised regulations allowing more widespread measures for the ACO to ‘balance’ performance between the four chassis options in LMP2 and then, to the surprise of many, confirmation by IMSA to Marshall Pruett that they will not follow that policy.
Instead IMSA will have their own potential changes based on aero for the LMP2s and based on the wind tunnel data that IMSA is in the process of collating.
The out-turn for both sanctioning bodies is understood to be aiming at the same result, to allow, if possible the Dallara, Ligier and Multimatic cars to match (but not exceed), the class beating numbers of the ORECA 07.