Late last year the world motorsports governing body, the FIA, and the guardians of endurance racing, the ACO, announced a raft of root-and-branch changes to the LMP2 category. Chassis would be limited, they said, to just four manufacturers and a single engine supplier would be selected, despite the class flourishing in recent years. After an eight-month tender process, the four chassis manufacturers have now been announced.
The four manufacturers entrusted will building LMP2 machines to compete in the FIA WEC, the IMSA Tudor United Sportscar Championship, the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the Asian Le Mans Series from 2017 are Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and Riley/Multimatic. The choice reflects the ACO’s desire to ensure that several different regions are represented, with Dallara based in Italy and the US, Onroak and Oreca in France and Riley and Multimatic in the US and Canada.
The aim of the new regulations is to reduce costs and limit the extent that privateers can develop new cars. But the rules have also come under fire, with current chassis manufacturers in the WEC and the ELMS such as Gibson, Strakka-Dome and BR Engineering (SMP Racing) seemingly left out in the cold. However an obvious benefit to the new regs will be the opportunity to compete in almost all of the world’s greatest endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, using a single platform.
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is proud of the work that’s been done on the future LM P2 category regulations, which has resulted in the selection of four prestigious chassis constructors: Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and Riley Tech/Multimatic,” said Pierre Fillon, president of the ACO. “Our priority is to supply the teams and drivers entered in this category with the best options and solutions to race.”
Each of the chosen four have long histories in prototype endurance racing, with Onroak Automotive and Oreca both represented in this season’s WEC in the shape of the Onroak-built Ligier JS P2 and the Oreca 05. Dallara’s SP1 prototype was a stalwart of the Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series in the mid-1990s, initially in the hands of the works Chrysler team. More recently, Dallara were responsible for designing the new Indycar chassis and have also been involved in the Daytona Prototype class in Grand-Am and then the Tudor United Sportscar Series. Riley Technologies has also been a leading light in Daytona Prototype development, with the company’s last flirtation with Le Mans racing coming in the shape of the Riley & Scott Mk III prototype in the early 2000s.
The next process in the development of the LMP2 regulations is the selection of a single engine supplier in September. The chassis validation process, including mandatory FIA crash tests, will take place throughout 2016.