CORE autosport announced Friday (Nov. 30) that they have changed their plans and will not race their ORECA 07-Gibson (pictured above) in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s LMP2 class. Instead, they have acquired a Nissan DPi and intend to race for overall wins in the DPi class.
“Ever since IMSA announced the split of the Prototype class it’s been our goal to enter DPi,” CORE autosport COO Morgan Brady stated in a press release. “Although we were headed in the LMP2 direction for 2019 within a matter of days the Nissan DPi program became a reality and we couldn’t pass this opportunity to compete for overall race wins.”
The Nissan Onroak DPi that CORE autosport will be racing is based upon the Ligier JS P217 chassis. Previously, this car has been raced by Tequila Patron ESM with some success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team won four races with the Nissan-powered prototype, including the 2017 Motul Petit Le Mans and this year’s Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
In addition, the team will still be able to field similar driver lineups to what they had in 2018. The full-season driver pairing of CORE autosport owner Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, which for all intents and purposes is a Pro-Am lineup, will not change. However, LMP2 was designed to be Pro-Am only. As a result, the team would have been limited as to who they could hire for additional drivers in the endurance events. In 2018, the team used Loïc Duval and Romain Dumas as their endurance drivers, both Platinum-rated former factory LMP1 drivers in the FIA World Endurance Championship. With the move to DPi, CORE autosport is able to retain Dumas and Duval’s services for the endurance events.
With their Pro-Am lineup, Bennett and Braun claimed overall victories at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Road America while staying in championship contention right up to the final laps of season. Bennett and Braun ended up finishing second in points, just three points behind Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr.