Whilst the recent IMSA decision to split the DPi and LMP2 runners into two separate classes has raised some serious questions about the full season numbers for the LMP2 class in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, with CORE Autosports, AFS/ PR1 and Performance Tech the only current hats still in the ring, the split looks to have unlocked real potential to attract ‘true’ Pro-Am entries for the season-opening enduros at the Rolex 24 Hours and Sebring.
Multiple LMP2 teams in both the FIA WEC and ELMS paddocks have made it clear to DSC that the fact that the LMP2 teams are no longer likely to be in contention for the overall win, but rather competing for a class win, has actually proved to be a positive factor in deciding on their plans for early 2019.
DragonSpeed, Panis Barthez Competition and Graff Racing are all evaluating potential runs at Daytona at least, the lack of an FIA WEC Prologue in March 2019 another spur that could see teams staying on for the Florida double.
In addition to the trio already mentioned DSC has spoken to a number of other teams not yet happy to reveal their hand, but which are actively considering making the trip – All told the number of possible LMP2s from the WEC and ELMS paddocks that could make the trip might be half a dozen or more, though a rather lower figure is significantly more likely.
“It fits in with our current LMP2 business model very well, and means that we feel less pressured to stack a car with Pro talent to run for a win, something that adds budget, and pressure on our funding drivers,” said one Team Principal who asked not to be named at this point.
Final decisions are rather thinner on the ground than firm commitments but there’s little doubt that Daytona at the very least has real prospects to see a number of LMP2s making their way stateside from Europe.
Whilst United Autosports have counted out an LMP2 IMSA programme for 2019, preferring to concentrate on their current ELMS and Asian LMS programmes whilst prepping for potential DPi action in 2020, Jackie Chan DC Racing are not counting out a start at Daytona, though it would not be with one of their current ORECA LMP2s if the plan came to fruition, rather a likely partner programme with WTR to run a Cadillac DPi. Those prospects though are a long way from being able too be called a programme yet.