IMSA has alienated European teams, says di Resta
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has put off European teams racing in the series with its failure to make LMP2 cars competitive, says Paul di Resta.
Mercedes DTM driver di Resta has made his first forays into sportscar racing this year with the United Autosports team, contesting the first two IMSA rounds of the year at Daytona and Sebring and also making his first Le Mans 24 Hours appearance.
IMSA operates a Balance of Performance system to allow LMP2 cars to race in the same category as the DPis, but so far the DPis have been dominant.
At the last North American Endurance Cup race at Sebring, DPi cars locked out the top 10 in qualifying and the podium in the race, with di Resta finishing fifth in the Ligier JS P217 he shared with Alex Brundle and Philip Hanson.
After that race, di Resta described IMSA’s attempts to balance the LMP2s and DPis as an “embarrassing waste of time”.
The Scottish driver reiterated his stance speaking to Motorsport.com ahead of this weekend’s third leg of the NAEC at Watkins Glen.
“People are clever enough to know where you’re fast and where you’re not, and I know for a fact at Sebring at Turn 1 and the last corner, I was the fourth-quickest car,” di Resta said.
“It wasn’t for a lack of talent that our laptime was slow, if you look at how much we lost between Turn 17 and Turn 1 [on the main straight].
“They say they’ve changed it [the BoP], they clearly admitted it wasn’t enough.”
United Autosports’ Ligier shared by di Resta, Hanson and Bruno Senna – who was ruled out of Sebring by illness – is the only additional car entered for the Watkins Glen IMSA round in the prototype class.
Di Resta urged IMSA organisers to give European teams “encouragement” if they wish to see more teams from the World Endurance Championship or European Le Mans Series entering the NAEC rounds in future.
“The whole team felt like they weren’t in the race [at Sebring],” he added.
“They say they are trying to encourage European teams to go there [IMSA] – well, give them some encouragement.
“All they’ve done is lost the potential for people going across there next year.”
Di Resta will be forced to miss the final round of the NAEC, Petit Le Mans in October, owing to a clash with the DTM finale at Hockenheim.
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