Riley will move its championship-winning LMP3 program to the LMP2 class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, retaining Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga as drivers of the team’s new Oreca 07 Gibson.
The shift comes amid the removal of the LMP3 class from the WeatherTech Championship following this season. Riley is the first LMP3 team to confirm a switch to LMP2.
“Gar really enjoys driving prototypes and BoP is so hard for everyone to deal with,” Bill Riley told Sportscar365.
“We wanted to be in a class that takes the whole BoP thing out of it. It’s very hard for the series to sort out BoP and we did do a BoP class [with Gar] in 2020 with the [Mercedes] AMG.
“Since we’ve been in a non-BoP class, it seems to fit how we race right now.”
Robinson, meanwhile, said that LMP2 will be a “welcome new challenge” for himself and the tea next year.
“It’ll be exciting for our team to fight with some really impressive competition,” he said. “With WEC removing the LMP2 championship I hope some of the top teams find a home in IMSA, I think Riley deserves to fight against the best.
“The last three years in P3 have been the best in my career but ultimately a longer runway is needed to see what everyone’s true potential is.
“Plus, it’ll be nice to be in a class that everyone doesn’t hate.”
Riley said discussions on a move to LMP2, which mandates a Bronze-rated driver, had intensified when IMSA confirmed the category’s eligibility through the 2025 season in March.
However, the team had also been keeping it as an option dating back to last year.
“We’ve definitely been talking about it,” he said. “There was a bit of a LMP3 scare last year about this time, right after the 6 Hours [of The Glen].
“That definitely put switching to whatever prototype class ends up being the one, eventually. That put it on the radar, that we were going to have to eventually switch here at some point.
“That was another great thing IMSA did, is when they put the stake in the ground at Sebring saying LMP2 would be around for two years, and they did not mention LMP3.
“That’s when we kinda knew, ‘OK, this is probably the way we’re going to have to go.”
The team expects to take delivery of a brand-new Oreca chassis in August, with testing planned at Daytona International Speedway during the fall, in the build-up to its class debut in the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“It should pretty much be the same crew, including the engineer Tyler Hook,” Riley said. “We’re all hopefully rolling with the same group, just with a different car.”
“It’s a new car for us so we’ll have to solve that. But it’s definitely going to be a challenge and we’re always looking forward to challenges.”
Riley is the second team in as many weeks to have confirmed a LMP2 program in the WeatherTech Championship following news of United Autosport’s move from the WEC, which will discontinue the class at seasons’ end.
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