Following a four-hour steering committee meeting at Circuit of The Americas between officials from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Automobile Club l'Ouest (ACO), both organizations today confirmed a collaborative decision that cars eligible for the Prototype class in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the LMP2 category internationally will remain so through the conclusion of the 2016 season.
Set to debut next year, the Prototype class in the IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will include cars currently competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' DP class, as well as P2 cars and the new DeltaWing DWC13 from the American Le Mans Series. IMSA officials are in the final stages of computer simulations and wind-tunnel testing of the three different types of prototype racecars. On-track testing will soon begin for balance of performance.
“This is outstanding news for prototype teams all over the world,” said IMSA Chairman Jim France. “This addresses long-term on-track competitive stability, along with the economic realities of today's business climate that face everyone wanting to compete at sports car racing's highest level.
“Moving forward, whether a team races a Daytona Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship or an LM P2 car around the world, they have an opportunity to make investments in their equipment that they will be able to utilize over the next three years. This is a huge step for the future of sports car racing both in North America and internationally.”
Technical regulations for the ACO's cost-capped LMP2 category have been in effect since 2011. The same P2 regulations are currently utilized in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the European Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Series, and the ALMS.
“The success of the current regulations in LMP2 is such that it does not require short-term evolution,” explained Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. “Extending this category to 2017 will allow further success for three years and guarantees the teams a sufficient period to absorb their costs. It also provides the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and its technical partners, IMSA and the FIA, enough time to work on the possible creation of the future prototype that could replace and further revolutionize the LM P2s and the DPs in 2017 in the best possible conditions.”
"The time necessary to create a new car is always an exciting period and also a decisive one for the championships for which it is destined," added Lindsay Owen Jones, president of the FIA's Endurance Commission. “It is in order to put forward these new technical regulations, which could replace those currently governing the LMP2s and the DPs, in the most complete form possible that the FIA and its partners, the ACO and IMSA, have given themselves ample time for reflection and studies. However, there's no doubt that with engineers as competent as those working for the three above-mentioned bodies, the design of the prototype that could race in 2017 is in the right hands."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship makes its debut with the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26, 2014. The 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans is set for June 14-15