After winning the last two GTC class championships in the American Le Mans Series, Black Swan Racing is planning a move into the LMP2 class for the 2012 season. Team principal Tim Pappas tested an OAK Pescarolo chassis (LEFT) at Sebring International Raceway in mid-December with his longtime co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen.
“This is the first time I've driven anything out of a GT car, showroom stock or similar production-based car,” Pappas said after the test. “It was incredible. I've never had anything that had that level of downforce and technical aspects. It's still just unbelievable.
“I think most people, who would look at a prototype car from a fan's perspective, would be incredibly surprised at how easy these cars are to drive.”
The team is exploring choosing either the OAK Pescarolo or a Lola chassis, and also deciding what engine or tire choice to pursue.
Pappas extolled the value of the LMP2 class, with its cost-capped formula and ability for teams to move up the pro-am ladder established within the ALMS class system.
“The backbone of sports car racing has been the enthusiast like myself who has a career outside motorsports but has a passion and desire to pursue their racing goals – contending for race wins and championships,” he said. “This class has come together nicely with a stable rules platform, cost caps and support from multiple manufacturers. LMP2 in the ALMS was an unbelievable class only a few years ago. Hopefully, a stable platform and a Pro-Am combination can help guys like me – who don't race full-time but have a passion for racing – contend for championships.
The team should be making other announcements related to its 2012 racing program after the new year. The P2 class, if a number of rumored teams can come to fruition, would enjoy a substantial growth from the 2011 season, when Level 5 Motorsports ran only sporadically and largely uncontested.