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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

WEC to drop LMP2 class from 2024

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Solely Hypercars and LMGT3 equipment shall be eligible to enter the WEC subsequent season, with the long-standing LMP2 class a casualty of rising demand for grid slots within the rejuvenated high class.

The upcoming arrival of Lamborghini, BMW and Alpine within the high class for 2024, in addition to boutique marque Isotta Fraschini, is anticipated to lead to a top-class entry of as much as 20 automobiles subsequent season, with the total entry at present standing at 38 automobiles.

Nonetheless, sequence organiser the Vehicle Membership de l’Ouest introduced throughout its official press convention on Friday morning {that a} “minimal” of 15 slots on the grid shall be reserved for the class for the Le Mans 24 Hours, as first signalled final December.

LMP2 had been a mainstay of the WEC since its rebirth in 2012, with the class having its roots within the LMP675 class that was established by the ACO again in 2000.

It was initially meant to be a low-cost method for producers to combat the heavier, extra highly effective LMP900s (which later turned LMP1) for general victories at Le Mans, but it surely shortly turned the only real protect of privateer groups.

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The character of the LMP2 class modified in 2017 when the category was restricted to 4 licensed chassis-builders: ORECA, Ligier, Dallara and Multimatic/Riley.

These are the identical 4 firms that can construct the next-generation LMP2 automobiles which are as a consequence of come on stream in 2026, and on which the LMDh automobiles racing alongside the Le Mans Hypercars within the high class are based mostly.

ORECA has a de facto monopoly on the LMP2 class within the WEC, with no different chassis builder having been represented on the grid for the reason that early rounds of the 2021 season.

The LMP2 class will stay the headline attraction for each the European and Asian Le Mans Collection, whereas the IMSA SportsCar Championship may also proceed to permit the automobiles to share the grid with LMDh and GT3 equipment.

#35 Alpine Elf Crew Oreca 07 – Gibson of Andre Negrao, Olli Caldwell, Memo Rojas

Photograph by: Nikolaz Godet

Drivers lament demise of LMP2

The lack of LMP2 from the WEC has been described as a “actual disgrace” by Oliver Jarvis, who races within the secondary prototype class for United Autosports and was a part of the JOTA crew that completed second general at Le Mans in 2017.

“On the one hand I perceive it,” the Briton advised Autosport. “Hypercar goes from power to power. There’s unimaginable curiosity from producers after which with the introduction of GT3, LMP2 simply doesn’t match from a pure numbers viewpoint.

“However if you really assume that at one stage there was actually Toyota and possibly one or two different Hypercars, LMP2 has virtually been the spine for a few years.

“All of those P2 automobiles have gotten to go someplace, so does that imply we get larger Asian Le Mans, larger European Le Mans, does it imply that IMSA will get a bolstered P2 grid? I hope so, as a result of for the value and the finances, I don’t assume there’s a greater class on the market in the intervening time.”

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WRT driver Louis Deletraz provided comparable sentiments, mentioning the lap occasions the ORECA 07 was able to earlier than being slowed down following the arrival of the slower Hypercars.

“For those who simply look again in time a bit, this ORECA 07 can do a 3m24s right here, which is as fast as a Hypercar,” the Swiss driver advised Autosport. “However we’ve been slowed down which clearly is sensible due to the brand new Hypercars.

“I’m good mates with [ORECA boss] Hugues de Chaunac now and I’ve to say hats off, this automotive is incredible, it has given a number of alternatives to younger drivers, created careers, introduced folks to Hypercar.

“I began in ’21 and with out this LMP2 class in each ELMS and WEC I wouldn’t be the place I’m now, capable of be in manufacturing unit drives and working within the high class.

“There’ll nonetheless be ELMS [where LMP2 cars can race] and hopefully it would nonetheless present younger drivers alternatives and groups to study for Hypercar.”

Further reporting by James Newbold

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