Road to Le Mans 2016: LMP2

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Jack Hunsley, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Jack Hunsley

    Jack Hunsley

    Next up on our Road to Le Mans for 2016 is a quick look at the contenders and stragglers in LMP2.

    The Basics
    For many young drivers in the WEC, LMP2 has become a vital category over the years and one of the traditionally most competitive in the series. Capturing the almost alien aesthetics of their LMP1 big brother's LMP2 is also an excellent testing ground for young and old alike, whilst a more consistent chassis and engine base than LMP1 all but guarantees a close fight over the 24 hours. Whilst they may not pack the same punch as the LMP1's, arguably LMP2 provides the best racing in the series.

    The Contenders

    So far this year LMP2 has been very, very close at the top. Whilst honours at Silverstone and Spa have been split between RGR Sport and Signatech Alpine, going into Le Mans I personally have put down the currently third placed entry of Extreme Speed Motorsports as the favourites.

    Back to back second places have put ESM just one point behind RGR and Signatech as we arrive at Le Mans, very impressive for a team who finished 7th and 8th overall in the WEC in 2015. After becoming the first team since 1998 to win both the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in a single calendar year, ESM will no doubt fancy adding Le Mans to their already burgeoning 2016 resume. No team has won all three since 1994.


    Outside of ESM, G-Drive should be another car to look for. Whilst the now Jota Sport run entry has not enjoyed quite the same success in 2016 as they did last season, Jota do have an impressive record at Le Mans in recent times, having come 1st and 2nd in the last two running's of the race. Likewise, whilst G-Drive's WEC team has been somewhat disappointing so far in 2015, the ELMS G-Drive of Dolan, Van Der Garde, and Tincknell have all but dominated their series With a victory and second place already to their names at Silverstone and Imola and a very respected and experience drive lineup, they should run well. Have no doubt, baring any Le Mans hi-jinks, at least one G-Drive should be in the running come Sunday.

    Thirdly, whilst admittedly tempting to add Signatech to the list I'm instead going to take punt on Manor. New to the category and Le Mans for 2016, so far they have performed very respectably this season. Whilst they came last at Silverstone, at Spa they were able to tackle one of the most challenging races on the calendar to take their first podium in the series. It is important to remember that this is a team who knows how to go racing and have done so really rather successfully, F1 aside, for the past 26 years. With a strong showing at test day and an arguably more recognisable name to the newcomers to the series, Manor could prove to be a fan favourite on race day.


    The Dark Horse
    First on the list is ELMS entry Eurasia Motorsport. Whilst they certainly haven't set the ELMS on fire this season, indeed a retirement at Silverstone and a 5th place at Imola is little to write home about, they did post the quickest lap time at the Le Mans test day.


    It does remain to be seen whether they can pull out a result over the 24 hours however, doubly so considering their best ever result in the ELMS is 5th at Silverstone in 2015 and at Imola last time out. Likewise, even inside a very small Asian Le Mans Series field of just two LMP2 cars in 2014 and four in 2015/2016, they still have still yet to win in the category. But, stranger things have happened at Le Mans after all.


    Looking across the pond we turn to Mike Shank Racing, IMSA's only representative in LMP2, who could well spring a surprise yet. Having yet raced against any of the LMP2 field competitively it is incredibly difficult for us to yet know where they will fit in to the category. However, with Blancpain star Laurens Vanthoor at the wheel, who has already won over 24 hours in 2016 at Dubai, combined a strong showing at the test day shows they could run well over the duration of the race.

    Continue Reading
    Road to Le Mans 2016: LMP1
    Road to Le Mans 2016: LMP2
    Road to Le Mans 2016: GT Pro & Am
    Road to Le Mans 2016: The Non-WEC Drivers
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  2. Rob


    And indeed, as it always has been. Remember the ALMS, where Penske bolstered that class with the Porsche RS Spyder in 2005 winning at Laguna on its debut. From there, it went on to class victories in the next three years and LeMans titles in 2008 and 2009. Sometimes, it even bested the LMP1s. Ahh, the memories. So glad to see the class being championed again.
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