After WEC Eliminates The LMP2 Class, United Autosports Will Join IMSA In 2024
June 9, 2023 / By Zunair Tahir / Automotive News
After learning on Friday that there will be no P2 class in the world championship the following year, the 2019–20 P2 champion team made the announcement.
United, which is co-owned by McLaren Racing manager Zak Brown, will continue to participate in both the European and Asian Le Mans Series in addition to making its maiden full-season IMSA assault with a pair of ORECA-Gibson 07s.
Richard Dean, team manager, stated that the “foreseeable future” involved the “redirection of our entire WEC team” to IMSA.
After attending a total of eight races in the North American series since 2018, he disclosed that participating in IMSA full-time was a long-held goal for United.
“It’s easy for us to say that we have always wanted to do a full season in IMSA right now, but it’s true,” he said in an interview with Autosport. This has given us the motivation we needed to get started.
Dean called the elimination of P2 from the WEC “a shame,” although he claimed to understand the FIA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s reasoning.
It is a direct outcome of Hypercar’s success, which can only be positive for the sport as a whole, he added.
As the Hypercar field grid grows to 20 or more vehicles and the new LMGT3 class replaces GTE Am, there won’t be enough for P2.
Dean emphasized that United continues to have aspirations of joining the WEC’s top class in the future.
The objective hasn’t altered; we still aspire to compete in Hypercar races, he stated.
“We are still working on it and pushing hard, but if it is going to happen, there has to be a door that’s unlocked.”
According to Dean, United is not discounting the difficulty of competing in IMSA.
It would be completely incorrect to think that we will perform similarly in IMSA, he added. “We have won races in the WEC, ELMS, and Asian series every time we have entered cars,” he said.
“It is very different, and we are not underestimating the challenge.”
Dean stated that no drivers have yet been signed by United for its IMSA project.
Additionally, he reiterated United’s plan to submit a proposal for two of the 15 grid spots at the Le Mans 24 Hours that are set aside for P2 competitors in 2019.
It will remain in the ELMS with a project centered on LMP2, and it also plans to continue in the enlarged 2024 Asian series in both P2 and LMP3.
At the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours, United entered its first independent IMSA event with a Ligier-Gibson JS P217 for Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, and Phil Hanson.
Its most recent American performance was an ORECA in the Daytona and Sebring endurance races in 2017.
In 2011, United entered vehicles in two significant US endurance races alongside other teams.
In order to field a Riley-Ford MkXX at Daytona during a Grand American Sportscar Series event, it teamed up with Michael Shank Racing. Later, it collaborated with OAK Racing to run a Pescarolo-Judd/BMW 01 LMP2 at the American Le Mans Series 1000-mile enduro at Road Atlanta.
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