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‘LMP2 most incredible, competitive field this year’

With a bumper 23-car grid in LMP2 many of the drivers expect it to be thoroughly competitive challenge for every single place in the class at Le Mans.
With a bumper 23-car grid in LMP2 many of the drivers are expecting it to be thoroughly competitive challenge for every single place in the class at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

With scrutineering checks passed and track action set to begin at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours, a whole host of LMP2 drivers were in agreement the class has the potential to be the highlight in this year's race with the competition so evenly spread.

Despite those customer teams with ORECA 05's being fancied as the favourites for top honours due to the excelling top speeds, reigning WEC LMP2 champion Julien Canal feels every place up for grabs will be tightly-fought and says the team with the fewest mistakes are likely to be eventual winners.

“I think this is the most incredible year in terms of driver line-up, in terms of teams,” Canal, driving for Greaves Motorsport in the Ligier JS P2-Nissan, said. “The competition is pretty amazing this year. A lot of cars and very good drivers. It is becoming very professional like LMP1 this year.

“No mistakes will be key and certainly our plan. If we stick to the plan and try to go to the end without any issues that will be the main thing to beat the others. It is really easy to make mistakes during the 24 hours.”

One of the eldest drivers on the Le Mans grid Tracy Krohn, gearing up for his 11th Le Mans 24 Hours aged 61 years young, is preparing for just his second Le Mans in LMP2 having stepped up from GTE-AM last year.

The American agrees it is one of the most competitive LMP2 grids in recent memory and sees it as the ideal place where gentleman drivers can be competitive against professionals as well as youngsters.

“They've made it a class where you can compete for a range of different places,” Krohn said. “The car counts go up when the people competing who don't make a living from racing can compete as well which is fun and competitive.

“It also provides a place for younger drivers to come and develop while letting more mature drivers compete as well. I only want to drive with guys I'm with [Niclas Jonsson and Joao Barbosa] who are really experienced, fast and proven winners. This is their life's work.”

“I think in class it certainly is the most competitive,” Jonsson nodded in agreement. “When we ran in GT before, combined of the Pro and Am it was about the same numbers, but it there is a real strength in the cars and driver line-up.”

2016 will also mark an end of an era in LMP2 at Le Mans ahead of next year's regulation revamp.

The new rules will force a selection of chassis from just four manufacturers (Dallara, ORECA, Onroak Ligier and Riley) with a single engine supplier in Cosworth and a unified electronics package from Gibson technologies.
by Haydn Cobb


Tagged as: Le Mans 24 Hours , Nissan , Oreca , LMP2 , LMP1 , WEC , GTE-AM

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