IMSA is planning to rid of its current Protoype format for the 2017 TUDOR season, with plans to implement an all P2 class instead of the mixed P2/Daytona Prototype class currently in place. That means the Corvette DP will no longer be able to race in TUDOR competition, so it’s now time for General Motors to start mulling over its replacement.
GM has yet to confirm its involvement in P2 for 2017, however GM Racing boss Mark Kent recently made statements to RACER which made it seem as though the automaker’s return is highly likely. It still remains to be seen whether the new GM P2 racer will be Chevy or Cadillac branded, or if it will use turbo V6 or naturally aspirated V8 power, though both have been recognized as possibilities.
“I think as we look at the new chapter in prototype racing, it is truly an exciting time, starting in 2017 and beyond,” Kent told RACER. “We believe IMSA has done a very good job of bringing the balls down out of the air and locking down some of the key elements. Now we know which engines we’ll package, we now know what the bodywork will potentially look like.”
“So we have enough information now to internally assess whether continuing in the series makes sense from a business perspective. And if we were to continue, we have enough definition to determine which product it makes the most sense to continue with.”
Apart from producing different engines and bodywork for customer teams to buy, as they currently do in the TUDOR Protoype class, GM could also decide to field its own factory-backed team for 2017. Kent acknowledged the advantages of both possibilities, but admitted the customer teams have ultimately paid off for GM and Chevy.
“For many years, it looked like having a focused, two-car team was the approach to use,” Kent said. “But if you look at more recent history in the Prototype class, having three or four Corvette Daytona Prototypes fielded by two or three different teams has resulted in multiple championships for us.”
“It’s also hard to argue why you wouldn’t continue down that path if you could continue with the strong teams that are currently running the Corvette Daytona Prototype?” Kent added. “It’s not an easy thing to answer and obviously we won’t have to answer that question until we answer the question of whether or not we even continue in the prototype class.”