The LMP2 class has arguably been the closest class so far in the 2017 World Endurance Championship. With all of the teams running the same chassis/engine combination (ORECA 07-Gibson), the advantages found on race days have had to come from the setup and aero packages on the cars. The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans sees a growth in the number of LMP2 cars taking to the grid, with 25 cars entering the class. This makes the LMP2 class the largest class in the prestigious endurance race and could see some intense battles between the different chassis.
Most of the additional LMP2 cars come over from the European Le Mans Series and add the Ligier and Dallara chassis to the competition. One team, #43 Keating Motorsports, has come from America and will run the sole Riley chassis at the 24-hour event.
After racing with Audi Sport in LMP1 for so many years, it has been a bit of a change for Oliver Jarvis in the 2017 WEC season. However, he has taken the change in class well, helping the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing team lead the LMP2 Drivers Championship. He has his hopes high for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and feels confident that his team-mates and himself can win the class in the #38.
However, #26 G-Drive Racing is not a car or team to forget about. Having scored a podium, second place, during the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans the team is hoping to one better their result this year. The team has looked strong during the opening few races of the season and the new driver line-up appears to be working well for G-Drive.
Signatech Alpine won the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year and went on to take the LMP2 championship at the end of the year. They have shown great form in the Le Mans test that happened a fortnight ago, with the #35 entry topping to time sheet of both sessions.
With the LMP2 cars being much fastest this year, overtaking and moving through traffic has been at the forefront of discussion circulating the weekend. The main concern is that the drivers coming to the 24 Hours of Le Mans who have not raced in WEC this season will potentially cause issues out on track. As the top speed of the LMP2s is higher than the LMP1s, it is not as easy as it has been in the past for the LMP1 cars to pass the LMP2s on the straights.
The LMP1 laps times are still 10 seconds faster, and once passed the LMP1s will disappear down the road, but there is a bit more care needed in passing the cars in traffic. If an LMP1 catches an LMP2 at the wrong point on track their lap time could suffer because they may have to scrub speed in order for the pass to be done safely.