No fewer than three of the LMP2 teams which contested the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship have confirmed that they are targeting two-car LMP2 entries for the 2021 season.
Class Champions United Autosports, Jota Sport and TDS Racing are working to finalise the packages that would, together provide a solid background for a very new look field in the class for the coming season.
United Autosports’ Richard Dean confirmed to DSC at the ELMS finale at Portimao that a doubling up of the team’s WEC programme was a priority target, and that discussions were underway to deliver it alongside the continuation of their other LMP2 and LMP3 programmes in the ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup.
Jota Sport’s Sam Hignett too has made it clear to DSC that there is a strong likelihood of Jota again bringing a pair of cars, most likely in their own name. The team is also targeting a return to the European Le Mans Series in LMP2 and look set too to join the LMP2 entry for the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series too.
TDS Racing’s Xavier Combet was a little more cautious over confirmations of plans for 2021 but DSC sources understand that alongside the likely continuation of the Racing Team Nederland effort in 2021 (TDS prepare and support the #29 car) that there is likely to be a second TDS prepped LMP2, this time entered most likely under the RealTeam banner, with Swiss 2020 ELMS LMP3 driver Esteban Garcia tipped to step up.
Add in too the programmes already announced by Inter Europol Competition and the confirmation to DSC at Portimao of DragonSpeed’s return to the WEC and the LMP2 class has a healthy basis to build upon, despite the departure for the Hypercar class of multiple class Champions Signatech Alpine, to GTE Am for Cetilar Racing, with Cool Racing set to focus on the ELMS in 2021 DSC understands, and with no decision at present from High Class Racing.
DSC is aware of multiple other teams (both current LMP2 and otherwise) evaluating a WEC entry, in particular in the light of the substantially reduced budgets due to the reduction of the calendar to 6 rounds and with only three long-haul flyaway rounds currently timetabled.
Paddock sources confirm that the difference between a WEC LMP2 budget (particularly for a two-car team) and an ELMS budget plus Le Mans is now less than 10% with the WEC having the advantage of a guaranteed Le Mans entry for full-season teams.