LMP2 drivers enjoy the opportunity to be in the spotlight at CTMP
5 mins read

LMP2 drivers enjoy the opportunity to be in the spotlight at CTMP

Fans may lament the absence of GTP cars at this year’s Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, but LMP2 fans are eagerly awaiting the class’s moment in the spotlight, and that certainly includes the drivers.

“I think it’s cool from an LMP2 perspective what IMSA has done to give the class a spotlight where they can compete for the overall win,” says Colin Braun, who will share the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA with George Kurtz. “I think it makes it really cool for us as teams and good for our sponsors and partners, and just shows how great the racing is in this class. I think there are often some stories that can be untold or unseen from a TV perspective, just because there’s so much good racing in IMSA right now, you can’t cover it all.

“So it would be nice to really highlight that and show what the class is all about. I think given the fact that we’re all in the same cars, there’s no BoP to speak of, there’s no different levels of performance… it’s about how well each team executes the task and how well the drivers and engineers can create a setup that’s quick.”

Braun has had his share of overall victories, such as last year’s CTMP, when he and Tom Blomqvist took victory in the GTP. The same goes for several GTP regulars, who are stepping into LMP2 machinery this weekend as their regular drivers compete in the World Endurance Championship in Brazil. That list includes Renger van der Zande joining John Farano in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports ORECA; Filipe Albuquerque with Daniel Goldburg in the No. 22 United Autosports; Pipo Derani driving the No. 88 AF Corse with Luis Pérez Companc; and Louis Deletraz repeating his Le Mans 24 Hours performance with PJ Hyett in the No. 99 ORECA AO Racing.

However, most of the bronze LMP2 drivers haven’t had the opportunity to fight for the overall win in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Braun says it’s an aspect he and Kurtz have discussed, and he’s excited for the drivers in the running to get a chance to shine.

“In the first part of the race in some of these sprint races, and even in the longer format races, there’s not as much focus on what’s happening in that first stage. They’re getting into it in the middle, towards the end of the race. But, man, these Bronzes are so good — they’re so competitive, they ride so well, and the racing against each other in the early part of these races is fantastic,” Braun says. “So I think we’re excited for the fans to get a chance to see how intense the early stages are for the Bronzes and how good the racing is.”

Gar Robinson is another rider looking to make a splash at the front as he prepares for his first year in LMP2 after several successful years in LMP3.

“My dad has a couple of Grand Am, IMSA overall wins back in the day, and to be able to match those numbers is something I think is pretty cool,” he says. “But at the end of the day, it’s also just the race and something we have to focus on in terms of the overall championship. I think with the pace we’re showing now, and the learning and working on it during the break, I think it’s really starting to show and we’re all really getting comfortable with these cars and anything is possible.”

This will be the first time the LMP2 class has competed in the CTMP since 2019, so several drivers who have not competed in other classes are relishing the opportunity to once again test themselves on the fast, 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course, as well as the chance to take home the overall win.

“I think it’s good for the championship,” says Ryan Dalziel, who will have a new co-driver in the No. 18 Era Motorsports ORECA this weekend, Stuart Wiltshire. “I think it’ll be quick – it’s been a while since we’ve been there and it looks like they’ve updated some things.

“I think overall it’s good for the LMP2 class to be the headline event. I remember the Atlantic days when we were the headliners at Trois-Rivières – it’s a bit of a morale boost that we’re not playing second fiddle to the GTP.”

2h40m The Chevrolet Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will begin Sunday at 11:05am ET. Live coverage on USA Network will begin at 11:00am. The race will also be broadcast on Peacock.