The most successful team in Daytona Prototype history could be making a radical switch to P2-spec machinery for next year’s United SportsCar Racing championship.
SPEED.com has learned that Chip Ganassi Racing is undecided on its 2014 sports car program, with the six-time and defending DP class champions considering either to continue with its proven Riley-BMW package or make the move to a Le Mans Prototype.
A decision has yet to be made, according to team manager Tim Keene, who is waiting on the technical regulations for the new combined Prototype category, comprised of DPs, P2s and the DeltaWing, to be finalized.
“We don’t really know what to look at,” Keene told SPEED.com. “We’d like to have an on-track test to see where we’d actually stand before we can make any kind of decisions. We don’t want to base a decision on what we think is going to be right because we don’t really know what the regulations will be.”
While having announced the class structure in January, USCR officials have yet to confirm what adjustments will made to DP and P2 cars in order to balance the two distinctly different platforms into a single category.
Based on times set from Friday’s sessions at Road America, site of the first-ever combined ALMS and GRAND-AM race weekend, the pace-setting P2 entry from Extreme Speed Motorsports was nearly three seconds faster than the DP pole-sitting Team Sahlen’s Riley-BMW.
According to USCR vice president of competition Scot Elkins, the series has set a timetable for the BoP process, with on-track testing expected following the finalization of computer simulations and wind tunnel testing.
Keene admitted a decision on their team’s program for next year should have already been made.
“We’re unfortunately waiting on [USCR] to give us any clue of what [the regulations are] going to be,” he said. “We were hoping we’d have something by now as far as what the regs are, and doing some on-track testing. That hasn’t happened yet.
“I think we’ve been missing a lot of good opportunities to actually test the cars on track together to see what they’d actually be like. Monday after this race would have been a good opportunity [for a side-by-side test], I think. It’s kind of disappointing at this stage.”
Keene wouldn’t reveal what chassis or engine options they would explore for a potential P2 effort. However, Ganassi holds strong links with Honda in IndyCar, and the Japanese manufacturer, through its U.S. arm HPD, already offers a turn-key P2 car.
Both Extreme Speed Motorsports and Level 5 Motorsports currently campaign HPD ARX-03bs in the ALMS, with ESM already committed to taking its pair of cost-capped prototypes into the USCR next year.
It’s understood Dyson Racing will also run P2-spec machinery in 2014, with defending P1 champions Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, along with Level 5, currently undecided on their future sports car racing programs.Chip Ganassi Racing, DP, P2, Sports Cars, USCR