Riley Taking “Survival-Like Mentality” into LMP3 Debut

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Riley Motorsports is taking a “survival-like mentality” into the 24-hour race debut for the LMP3 platform according to Bill Riley.

The veteran IMSA constructor and race team is fielding a pair of Ligier JS P320 Nissans in the new-for-2021 class, which has been added as a fifth category alongside DPi, LMP2, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

While a proven package in Europe, the class has yet to complete a twice-around-the-clock enduro, requiring each constructor to homologate an endurance kit with the ACO ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The kit, mainly consisting of more durable clutch, has been implemented along with a mandatory eight-minute ‘mechanical’ pit stop to be carried out during the race to allow more extensive servicing.

Despite the precautions laid out, Riley said he hasn’t seen any signs of reliability issues with the package after multiple tests prior to this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

The team completed a two-day test at Daytona in December while also completing a rollout at Carolina Motorsports Park two weeks ago.

“It’s a new car for us but everything is going well,” Riley told Sportscar365. “The team is working hard, the drivers are working well. It’s all going fairly smooth.

“Nothing’s really popped up or we would have figured out a solution with Ligier or the ACO or IMSA. But it is a new class and you’re at a long race so anything can happen.

“It’s definitely going to be a survival-style mentality to this event.

“For all I know, all of the LMP3 cars might have the same issue at Hour 14. You just don’t know.”

Riley said traffic hasn’t been a huge challenge but tomorrow’s Motul Pole Award 100 could provide a preview of what’s to come for the main show.

A number of drivers have voiced concerns over the speeds of the LMP3 cars, which are currently running similar lap times to GTLM cars.

What’s more, top speeds appear to be similar between the two classes.

“With only six GTLM cars it hasn’t been too bad,” Riley said. “But it did take us a good lap of being very close to [a GTLM car] to get around it.

“I think it really depends on what drivers in the LMP3 as to what car is going to be the dominant car.

“The speeds seem to be about the same. They have the confidential tires and we have customer tires. It kind of goes back and forth with all of the advantages and disadvantages.”

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