Leading DP Team Considering Early LMP2 Switch


New LMP2 regulations will be in place for the 2017 seasons across all leading endurance sportscar series, one of which is the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

For teams in the North American series currently using a Daytona Prototype, a considerable alteration will have to be made in order to change to the new LMP2 cars after the DP formula’s end in 2016.

VisitFlorida.com Racing, which is currently leading the Prototype standings, has been looking at the options available in LMP2 and is even exploring a 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans entry.

Drivers Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook currently use the Corvette DP which has proven itself to be the best car available in the top class of the TUSC. LMP2s, on the other hand, have failed to have the success over in the USA that they have in Europe and in the World Endurance Championship.

The LMP2 class was the largest at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is arguably the healthiest in both the WEC and European Le Mans Series. In contrast, teams using these cars have gradually been dropping out of the TUSC since Daytona, with just one Ligier and one Mazda taking part in the most recent rounds alongside five DPs and a DeltaWing.

“I think, as in anything in this sport, you’ve got to try to lead the way if you can,” team owner Troy Flis told Sportscar365. “For us, getting [a LMP2 car] the sooner the better is best for us.”

Flis says that, at the moment, French manufacturer Oreca is his team’s first choice chassis option. The Oreca 05 made its debut earlier this year and took the class win at Le Mans under the Hong Kong-based KCMG team.

“If somebody has an Oreca [05] and is going to go over [to Le Mans] next year, maybe it’s something we’d jump on to learn the car with them and get a little head start with that because that car is going to be similar to what we get.”

A final decision on VisitFlorida.com Racing’s 2016 program is likely to be announced by the Lone Star Le Mans in September, a joint race weekend between WEC and TUSC, where the new Oreca will have its first race in North America.

“I think for us, and our overall program, it would probably be more sensible for us to stay with the Daytona Prototype one more year if it’s going to be a competitive piece.

“But if we find out that they’re not going to allow us to be as competitive as we are now to the P2 cars because they’re trying to wash them out, we’re going to be forced to do it.”