Last Lap explores the talking points of the WEC’s LMP2 class with new and returning teams, notable driver line-ups, and more for Season 10.
LMP2 has always been the secondary endurance prototype category of the World Endurance Championship, but it showcases ‘first-class’ action in various forms.
Last year’s increase in the field made a difference to the frequency of competitors dueling one-another in pursuit of wins, podiums, and most of all, at the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A glance at the entry list will tease why LMP2 is the one WEC class to follow.
There are new names and famous names in the discipline joining the championship, and there are drivers who are stepping onto the world championship stage for the first time.
Reigning champions Team WRT will have to assert themselves against 14 other competitors to defend their LMP2 World Championship crown.
There are a multiplicity of talking points to explore, so we look at a few with a focus on debutants.
Read more on the WEC:
- WEC Season 10 Preview: LM GTE-Pro
- WEC Season 10 Preview: LM GTE-Am
- Super GT champion Hirakawa is ambitious on his step to the WEC
Three new teams join the class
AF Corse, Penske and Vector Sport. Two of those thee names are well-known and affiliated throughout multiple series, But Vector Sport, who are debuting into the world of motorsport for the first time, will be keen to make a strong impression.
As for the Penske, they won the GTE-Am Drivers’ (apart from Alessio Rovera) and Teams’ Trophies twice consecutively, and have pursued this category in search of tougher competition and a different form of machinery in the WEC.
Posing the same driver crew as last year – Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen, and Alessio Rovera – it will be exciting to see this talented trio take on the LMP2 Pro/Am honours.
For Perrodo at least, it will mark a return to LMP2 machinery albeit the Oreca 07 LMP2 prior to its power deduction and Le Mans aerodynamic kit mandate.
Penske is one of the most iconic and well recognised names in the history of motorsport, headed by ‘The Captain’ himself Roger Penske.
Over 40 championships and 500 victories have come from 50 years of racing across all walks of life, from NASCAR to IndyCar, from Formula 1 to IMSA, and the Can-Am series.
On their post-2000s endeavours in sports cars, they partnered with Porsche using their LMP2 Porsche RS Spyders from the 2006-2008 seasons of the American Le Mans Series.
Nine years later, they made another comeback to sportscar racing with the DPi Acura partnership with two titles in the 2018 and 2019 IMSA seasons.
Before their comeback, they finished took pole and finished third overall at the 2017 Petit Le Mans with an Oreca 07 Gibson, in preparation for their DPi commitment.
It seems a year to prepare is the objective once again as the revived Porsche-Penske partnership will see them take on the Hypercar class for the first time as a duo.
For Dane Cameron, this year will give him a chance to learn about the WEC environment at the circuits lesser familiar to his North American commitments.
Emmanuel Collard, a former Porsche Penske driver with 24 Le Mans races under his belt, brings experience to the line-up.
Finally, recently-crowned GTD-Pro Daytona winner Felipe Nasr joins Cameron as a factory Porsche driver who may find himself in the WEC’s Hypercar class next year.
For the reigning IMSA DPi champion, it is also about learning the WEC to reacclimatise with the field since his Le Mans debut in 2018, along with the European Le Mans Series races.
Vector Sport Team Manager Gary Holland has worked with Nico Mueller before in Formula E at Dragon Team Penske, so an existing bond will set things in the right direction for the Audi LMDh driver who is building up experience before his step to the top class.
Their two successful veterans will be of great value to a team starting out in the discipline.
Ryan Cullen and Sebastien Bourdais are two knowledgeable drivers who fully understand sportscars and will help set up the Oreca 07 package for each of the six rounds.
This is the first step to what Vector Sport hopes will open more doors into more LMP2 projects.
The youngest talent and a multi-WRC champion as debutants
The LMP2 category has always been a renowned opportunity to bring together the very best talent from all walks of life, a selection of whom are starting out in the discipline.
One of the two leading storylines this year is on eight-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier taking on the WEC for the first time.
With much of his successful motorsport career in the rally discipline, he has only competed in a minimal number of professional road circuit races.
His most recent was in the 2018 DTM with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Remus at the Red Bull Ring. The Frenchman, with five consecutive titles at this point, finished 12th and 16th in both races.
It will be an intriguing sight for one of Rally’s most respected and talented drivers to embrace the thrills of endurance prototypes with the added difficulties of multi-class racing.
Milesi’s talent also poured into the ELMS, such as during his qualifying performances.
With such a talented field in LMP2, it is challenging to specify the best team. The Richard Mille Racing Team, however, are ones to watch out for this year.
Another star at his early stage of both his motorsport and endurance career, Josh Pierson will be the youngest driver to have ever driven in the WEC; he will be 16 years, 2 months and 4 days at the 1000 Miles of Sebring opener.
He recently won the latter Abu Dhabi rounds of the Asian LMS for United Autosports, the team he will race with in Season 10.
Having made history with every step in prototype racing, he will be one to watch as an eager, young talent with plenty of experience to soak up this year alongside IMSA.
Last Lap will share more insight about his LMP2 career so far in an exclusive interview due later in the week.
Let us know your thoughts on this year’s LMP2 field? What action are you expecting to see?