LMP2 chassis constructors named ahead of standardization in 2017

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The FIA, ACO and IMSA have announced the four constructors that will be building LMP2 chassis for across their respective series and races as of 2017.

In a bid to curb costs within LMP2 racing, it was confirmed back in June that only four constructors would be able to build chassis for the class in the FIA World Endurance Championship (including 24 Hours of Le Mans), European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship as of 2017.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and Riley Tech/Multimatic have won the tender ahead of the regulation change.

“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is proud of the work that’s been done on the future LMP2 category regulations, which has resulted in the selection of four prestigious chassis constructors: Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and Riley Tech/Multimatic,” ACO president Pierre Fillon said.

“Our priority is to supply the teams and drivers entered in this category with the best options and solutions to race in endurance on a long-term basis.

“Thanks to the decisions taken jointly by the ACO, IMSA and the FIA we have managed to bring together a high-quality pool of constructors which reinforces the interest in the series and its glowing future prospects.”

The ACO and FIA will jointly announce which manufacturer has won the tender to supply engines for its championships’ LMP2 classes in September.

In the Tudor Championship, engine supply will not be limited to just one manufacturer, and all chassis will have manufacturer-specific styling elements.

“The Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and Riley Tech/Multimatic teams now will join the technical working group jointly managed by the ACO, the FIA and IMSA to define the final details of the regulations,” a joint statement from the three bodies reads.

“One of the main objectives of this working group is to optimise all of the parameters to ensure the most economically viable set of rules for the teams.

“The final set of provisions of the LMP2 regulations will be adopted by the World Motor Sport Council in December of this year, and the timetable will respect the following five stages:

  • 1st January 2016: validation of the safety structures/monocoque;
  • 1st April 2016: validation of the bodywork and the mechanical components;
  • 1st June 2016: validation of the crash test;
  • 1st September 2016: presentation of the draft homologation sheet;
  • From 1 – 15 December 2016: inspection and final validation of the car

“The cars must be homologated by, and available for use in January 2017 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the first race at which the new TUDOR Championship Prototype / LMP2 category regulations will be applied.”

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds