- Scott Pruett in an interview with Gordon Kirby on his website confirmed what I think will happen. The upgrades to the Daytona Prototypes means these cars will enter uncharted waters with unknown impacts on reliability. With limited testing time between when the new aerodynamic parts (tunnel + rear diffuser) being delivered and all the upgrades being added to the cars (paddle shift, carbon brakes, different dampers and spring rates to deal with the added downforce, etc) means many teams will suffer at Daytona with balance problems and parts failure.
- The P2 cars are fully sorted. The only changes are the mandated aero package for Daytona, Sebring and IMS which reduces overall downforce to match it closer to the DP with the changes. While teams may appear to lose a performance advantage will be able to gain some of that back. Under ACO rules, as long as a car manufacturer releases new body kit at the start of the season, updates are allowed once per season. For HPD teams, that means Wirth Engineering will go back to its computers and try to recover some of that lost downforce. Because the drivelines are pretty much bulletproof, I don't expect many failures even if these cars have never run on the Daytona banked oval before.
By the time the checkered flag drops on the new era Rolex 24, I think you'll find a P2 in the winners circle, barring anything like accidents of course. Besides Daytona, the only other place where P2 cars have no data is IMS (Indy). If they a P2 car can finish on the podium at Daytona, again at Sebring and again at Petit; it doesn't even have to worry about finishing on the podium at IMS, the North American Endurance Title would be a P2 victory.
This is with the on-going BoP (Balance of Adjustment) that's going to be made throughout the season. It will be a cat and mouse game, this is where having professional drivers will be important. Wirth Engineering has a simulator located at their design studio where once some data is available from this months BoP test at Daytona where Extremespeed will be attending, they will be able to upload the track data, put a driver in it say Guy Cosmo who has tons of tire testing under his belt and come up with a predictive lap time they could run to win the race with more consistent driving, better pit stops and better fuel economy than outright speed since the extra power DP's have automatically means less mileage.
In other words the HPD's won't have to dominate qualifying or the race to win it.
I expect by Long Beach; the first sprint race of the season, DP teams will screaming for competition adjustments. Again with tons of on-track data at Long Beach despite those adjustments I think a P2 car will win again.
By mid-season however DP's might go on a bit of a streak at places such as Mosport and Road America where handling and horsepower are important. But again at Road America fuel mileage because of the track length and uphill front straight will come into play and could be another P2 victory.
I think its safe to assume that a P2 will end up dominating the first season of the new series and it will be interesting to see what the deeper pocketed teams do either at the end of the year or mid-season. Both Starworks and Ganassi made engine switches just beyond the midpoint in the season last year. Its totally possible that a team like Ganassi might park his converted DP's in favor of a P2 car of some description, especially if they are in the championship hunt and need to be on equal footing with the P2 cars. They are one of the few teams with very deep pockets and might willing to make the move.
All this does is make for an exciting and interesting season from the sharp end of the grid to the blunt end.
I made this post originally before the testing accidents with the upgraded DP cars. Since that point however potential P2 teams like Greaves and Pecom have dropped their plans to run the Tudor Championship.
However my original thought still stands by Petit Le Mans, I predict all Extreme speed will have to do is start the race and they'll win the title. This will be after a season of fist waving, sh*t talk and BoP.
If anything it will be interesting won't it?