United Autosports will not bring their LMP2 machines to the Daytona International Speedway next January for the Rolex 24 at Daytona following the decision by the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to split the prototype class into two in 2019, according to team boss Richard Dean.
Dean says the decision to switch LMP2 into a Pro-Am class that will be almost secondary to the Daytona Prototype international class means the chance of taking overall victory has all but gone, and will also prevent the all professional driver line-up they brought to the 2018 event, including Fernando Alonso, happening again.
“It was our ability to have drivers like Fernando, Paul di Resta and Lando Norris that allowed us to attract the sponsors that made it all work,” said Dean to Motorsport.com. “If we are competing in a B class, there isn’t as much to sell, but the costs remain the same — for me it devalues the whole thing.
“IMSA has been under pressure from its regular competitors, so I understand why they have done it, but it blows our business model away.”
Dean says not racing in LMP2 at Daytona will not end their involvement in IMSA, but it will mean they will need to invest in a DPi machine if they want to go for the overall victory.
“We were sitting there with some of the budget for ’19, but morally it wouldn’t have been the correct thing to go back because we had signed those deals on the basis that we were able to go for the overall win,” said Dean.
“We are definitely not closing the door on IMSA — we love the series and we love the racing. This decision means we just have to get a DPi, and that means a very significant capital investment.”
United Autosport’s final use of the LMP2 machine in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will come later this year at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans.