ALL FOR ONE IN LMP2
There was always going to uncertainty
over the size of the WEC’s LMP2 entry
for 2017. Understandably so, because
the introduction of a new formula
meant teams have had to re-equip.
As it turned out, 10 cars signing up
for the second-tier prototype class was
a “good surprise,” according to Vincent
Beaumesnil, sporting director at series
promoter Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
Not such a surprise is that only one of
the four constructors licensed to build cars
to the new regulations is represented. All
five teams running in P2 in the WEC this
year are running ORECA 07s powered by
the new, spec Gibson V8. Others tried to
put together programs for 2017, but the
five on the grid all had an ongoing
relationship with the French car builder.
Four of the teams were previously
racing ORECA 05 chassis, which can be
updated to 07 specification. Rebellion,
which is stepping down from the
privateer LMP1 ranks, is the only team to
purchase a pair of new cars. ORECA was
the obvious choice, given that it built the
Anglo-Swiss team’s R-One P1 chassis that
made its debut back in 2014.
Onroak Automotive, winner of the WEC
P2 title in 2015 with the Ligier JSP2, has
disappeared from the entry after having
three cars last year. Extreme Speed
Motorsports squad’s decision to return home
and race full-time in the IMSA SportsCar
Championship did for two, and Mexico
City WEC promoter Ricardo Gonzalez has
put his RGR Sport effort on hold.
The Ligier situation was confused by
the fact that Onroak sister company OAK
Racing effectively ran all three cars last
year. The new P2 rule book specifically
bans in-house or works teams fielding cars.
P2 newcomers Dallara and Riley/
Multimatic have failed to break into the
market, but Riley boss Bill Riley isn’t
surprised about the absence of his Mk30
design from the WEC this year.
“We knew we’d have a more difficult
time than the other three constructors
because we’re more of an unknown in
Europe,” explains Riley, who will have a car
at the Le Mans 24 Hours entered by Ben
Keating. “Maybe we could have got cars in
there if we’d pushed deals a bit harder, but
business-wise it didn’t make sense.
“Our job now is to keep our heads
down and prove we have a fast car in
IMSA [the Mk30 raced by the Spirit of
Daytona team]. That’s why I’m looking
forward to what I’d call the European-
style tracks over here.”
Riley and Multimatic have so far sold
six chassis, a figure made up of the two
IMSA Weather Tech Championship Mazda
RT24-P DPi cars and the Spirit of Daytona
and Keating Motorsports P2s, plus two
cars purchased by customers as spares.
That means Riley/Multimatic are already
halfway to the eight cars racing that
makes the project sustainable.
(MAIN) All but
spec... The French
ORECA 07 is de
rigueur in LMP2
this season. The
powering it is
Alpine call their car
an Alpine A470...but
it’s an ORECA 07.
Rebellion switches from a privateer LMP1
program to LMP2. The Anglo-Swiss team ran
one of its ORECA 07s at the Rolex 24 (ABOVE).
WEC LMP2 is a strictly ORECA affair in 2017, but a double-digit entry for the class reset is a positive.
FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
LMP2 ENTRIES FOR THE
24 HOURS OF LE MANS
– THAT’S ALMOST HALF