THE P2 conundrum
Details are sparse on the finer aspects of
what lies ahead for IMSA’s Prototype class in
2017, but we do know the TUDOR United
SportsCar Championship will conform to
the new global P2 specification currently
being devised by the ACO and FIA.
The French-based sanctioning bodies
also have a new P2 specification coming in
2015 – one where coupes replace the
cadre of open-top offerings from Onroak,
ORECA, Honda Performance Development,
and others – which makes the move to
another spec in ’ 17 a somewhat anxious
time for constructors and their customers.
“We’ve maintained a dialogue with the
getting ready for the reboot
ACO and FIA on where things are headed, but
we haven’t been given any guarantees that
what we’re building for 2015 will automatically
carry over into 2017,” says HPD vice
president Steve Eriksen. “The market for P2
cars is small, so building new cars every two
or three years isn’t something we’d consider
sustainable from a financial standpoint. And
it would also be asking a lot of our clients.”
The 2017 rules are still in the early
planning stages, but Eriksen says indications
design. There are no guarantees at this
moment, but they’ve indicated this is a
sensible direction to go.”
With IMSA committed to a P2-based
Prototype class in 2017, the DP era is winding
down, and for one of its most loyal supporters,
saying goodbye to tubeframes and hello to
carbon-fiber coupes isn’t a bad thing.
“We’ll go to this clean-sheet car and it
appears things are going in the right
direction,” says DP owner Michael Shank.
“[TUDOR Championship founder] Jim France
would like to have brandable bodies like we do
now in DP. I hear the ACO isn’t as inclined,
but we definitely want that. If a European
team wants to race here, we need to make
sure they have a generic body to use, and
same thing if we want to race over there.
“I also like having just one style of car
instead of two, because it’s easier to create
a separate Prototype championship for
Pro-Am drivers like we had in Grand-Am.
We lost that in the merger, but it’s key to
the series moving forward. Take care of the
Pro-Am guys, give them their own race
wins with the new cars, and we all win.”
In 2017, P2s will be the only show in town for the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype class.
are that the next-gen P2 is likely to draw
upon the foundation of the ’ 15 coupes.
“What we’d like to see, and I’m sure
many of the manufacturers have conveyed
this, is for the 2017 car to use what we’re
all building for next year, and build off of that
chassis,” he says. “It’s a lot easier to use
what’s beneath the bodywork – the carbon
tub, the drivetrain and most of the car’s core
– and create new bodies or add whatever
changes they are looking for to the 2015
Open-top P2 cars
(ABOVE) exit the
WEC for 2015,
replaced by coupes.
opimistic that the
new breed will be the
basis of the TUDOR
P2 coupes such as HPD’s all-new ARX-04b
are de rigeur for the 2015 WEC, but are
likely to be seen in next year’s TUDOR
Championship Prototype class, too.