Differences between LMP1 and LMP2
To the untrained eye, there doesn’t seem to be much to distinguish between the FIA World Endurance Championship’s two prototype categories - but the differences in philosophy between the LMP1 and LMP2 divisions are in fact significant.
While LMP1 is a category for manufacturer teams and well-resourced privateer squads wishing to challenge them, LMP2 is reserved for smaller independent teams with a lower budget.
To help keep costs down in LMP2, teams are obliged to run one of four approved chassis – ORECA, Ligier, Dallara or Multimatic/Riley – mated with a standard 4.2-litre Gibson V8 engine. These chassis are homologated and therefore can’t be developed, except for changes permitted by rule makers.
LMP1 teams are subject to no such restrictions, however, and their extra power, lower weight and more complex aerodynamics results in much quicker lap times. Unlike in LMP2, teams in the top category also have the option to use hybrid technology to boost their performance, although only Toyota will do so in the 2018/19 Super Season.
Finally, LMP2 teams are obliged to run one silver or bronze-graded amateur driver in their line-ups, to help keep the category accessible, while LMP1 teams are free to run all-professional crews.