Since the announcement of the new regulations for the LMP2 class ahead of the 2017 season, the expectations of fans and teams were focused on two points, which were the names of the companies which will make the four chassis available for the new regulations, as well the name of the spec-engine supplier that will power these new cars.
The announcement of the chosen company was due to be made this week, and without much difference of the current scenario, we will still see the Gibson Technology name involved with the production of LMP2 engines, as they were selected between four other bids, which included the likes of Judd, which currently produces the HK engine for the class, and Mecachrome, which prepared Ford engines for the LMP2 class racers until 2006. These news came as a relief for the British company, as they selected to not take part in the bids for the 2017 LMP2 chassis suppliers, and given that they currently produce mosto f the engines of the LMP2, based on Nissan’s VK45DE platform, as well the single Renault-badged engine for the Formula Renault 3.5 series, the new engine will not be that much of a challenge.
The new LMP2 spec engine is intended to be a normally aspirated 4-liter V8 engine instead of the current 4.5L current ones, and power will be increased from the current 450 horsepower to 600, on level of most turbo-powered engines used on GT3 spec cars, as well the also turbo-powered rallycross supercars. These new measures are intended to cut costs for the teams involved, as well to distance the LMP2 cars from the LMGTE ones, firstly because there were some complains about lack of power to overcome the LMGTE cars in the straghtways, as well because of the new regaulation boost that the LMGTE class will receive already in the next year.
About the availability of the spec engine, it will be the sole power of the LMP2 cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but will be present also in the European Le Mans Series, the IMSA Sportscar Championship and the Asian Le Mans Series. Both ELMS and IMSA SCC will also allow other engine manufacturers, which will be equalized by a Balance of Performance with the new Gibson Technology engines.
In the same announcement, it was confirmed that Cosworth will be responsible for the electronics of the LMP2 machines from 2017 onwards, which ECUs will play part in the Balance of Performance in the United States and Europe. Also, manufacturer branding is out of question, but team-specific engine branding will be allowed under FIA Endurance Comission analysis.
PHOTO: JOTA Sport