LMP2 more open than ever
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LMP2 more open than ever

LMP2 is an excellent training ground for future stars of the LMP1 class and the ideal playing field for gentleman drivers. There are plenty of contenders for victory among the drivers, teams and chassis manufacturers.

Ligier and Dallara keen to rival with Oreca

LMP2 retains all its appeal this year, with no fewer than 20 cars on the grid. Oreca is well-represented once again, with eight cars plus the Alpine A470, but, unlike in 2017, there is more balance between three of the four appointed chassis suppliers (Riley will be absent), with eight Ligiers and three Dallaras also in the starting line-up. It should be noted that the regulations have permitted the latter three chassis makers, who lacked performance last year, to make some technical upgrades to narrow the gap with Oreca.

Nevertheless, most of the money is on the Oreca 07 which, in 2017, clinched the FIA World Endurance Championship Teams’ Trophy for Vaillante Rebellion, the class win for Jackie Chan DC Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, the icing on the cake, two spots on the overall podium, just below winners Porsche. And the Oreca 07s are fielded by some of the sharpest looking teams: Jackie Chan DC Racing, Signatech Alpine Matmut and DragonSpeed.

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At least three teams in the running for the title

The deck has been reshuffled this year with reigning champion Rebellion Racing’s return to LMP1. Class winner at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jackie Chan DC Racing will be looking to defend its crown but there are at least two serious challengers: Signatech Alpine Matmut and DragonSpeed, then the other Oreca 07s fielded by TDS Racing, G-Drive Racing, Graff-SO24 and IDEC Sport. Panis-Barthez Compétition, United Autosports, Larbre Compétition, Algarve Pro Racing and Eurasia Motorsport will be fighting in the Ligier JS P217 corner. Meanwhile, Racing Team Nederland, SMP Racing and Cetilar Villorba Corse are hoping to upset the apple cart by placing the Dallara among the frontrunners.

Some changes on the driver list too, as 2017’s most promising young talent Thomas Laurent has moved up to LMP1. This year, keep a close eye on André Negrão in the Alpine A470 and Gabriel Aubry in the #38 Oreca for Jackie Chan DC Racing, as they will be hoping to follow Laurent’s example. However, there are plenty of other top-flight drivers in LMP2, including several with Formula One experience (Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Paul Di Resta as well as Juan Pablo Montoya, pictured here), so these rising stars will have their work cut out if they are to outshine the rest of the class! 

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