Guide to driving the iRacing Dallara P217 LMP2 car

Dallara P217: An iRacing LMP2 Car Guide


Despite the recent implementation of the LMDh class, the LMP2 car on iRacing continues to thrive. Make your way to the front of the pack with this iRacing LMP2 car guide.

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Introduced into real-world motorsport in 2017, the Dallara P217 is one of four current LMP2 models competing in sportscar races around the world. It joined iRacing in September of 2020 and was, until the end of 2022, the highest-level prototype in-game. That crown has since passed to the BMW M Hybrid V8. But, the LMP2 car is still extremely popular in iRacing.

Despite featuring in the game since 2020, it was the second most popular car in the iRacing Sebring 12 Hours. It seems simracing’s true passion lies with GT3 machinery.

The Dallara’s popularity sure to continue for seasons to come. So it is important for racers to understand this sportscar and its unique characteristics. From advice on setting the car up for different tracks throughout a season, to how to drive around its intricate particularities, here’s our guide on how to drive the Dallara LMP2 car in iRacing.

A Raw Driving Experience

As a whole, driving the Dallara P217 in iRacing is a very similar experience to that of the BMW LMDh car. They are both prototypes built to take on similar tracks for similar lengths of time. However, the LMP2 machine sets itself apart from the top class runner in two key aspects.

The BMW is a heavier, hybrid racer with massive power on tap. Whereas the Dallara is a lighter car with more progressive power delivery and less to think about. As such, this car has a much more natural feeling to it.

Nowadays, the Dallara has two sides to its personality. At low speeds, it is a clumsy machine lacking mechanical grip with performance akin to an old house cat. Whereas the high-speed persona of the car is an over-excited, agile Jaguar, ready to pounce at any moment.

This means drivers must prepare to slightly alter their driving style throughout a lap. In the slow stuff, it’s all about being gentle. Getting the most out of the car at low speeds requires patience. It is of extreme importance to time when you get off the brakes. You can’t roll the brake into a corner with this unless you want huge understeer. The best solution is to brake early and release the brake just as you start putting significant steering lock on. Meanwhile, lightly apply the throttle to rotate the car and gradually increase the pressure on the loud pedal.

Be careful when braking hard as locking wheels is easy to do in the Dallara P217 on iRacing
Be careful when braking hard as locking wheels is easy to do in the Dallara P217 on iRacing. Image Credit:

In faster corners, drivers have to force themselves to trust in the downforce. It may be scary at first, especially with other cars around. But keeping speed as high as possible through faster corners is essential to maximising lap time. This means small taps of the brakes are all you need before slamming on the gas once more. The car rotates best with the accelerator jammed open, so make the most of that.

Setting up the iRacing Dallara P217

Alongside the many open-wheel models in iRacing, the Dallara P217 has one of the fullest setup screens on the sim. The aero page alone requires great knowledge of fluid dynamics and a mathematics degree to calculate drag coefficients. If you don’t want to bother with such a complicated menu, iRacing provides several preset setups optimised for a variety of tracks. Although the countless setup shops would hate to say it, they work just fine for most scenarios.

For those that do enjoy boiling their brains and spending hours in-game without turning a wheel, here are some tips as to what you can prioritise when making setups. In general, there are two main aspects to focus on when setting up the Dallara LMP2 car in iRacing. The first is its straight line speed, the second is its driveability.

A guide to driving and setting up the Dallara iRacing LMP2 car
A guide to driving and setting up the Dallara iRacing LMP2 car. Image Credit:

When it comes to the car’s top speed on a given track, it’s important to be as close to the limiter as possible when in the draft. To do this, maximise your gear ratios using the presets available in-game. Next up, one must balance the car’s aerodynamic efficiency using the wings, gurneys and rake angle. How you balance these is down to the needs of the track and your own preference.

Aero will mostly affect how the car handles at high speed. But when it comes to the slower turns, you’ll want to tweak suspension spring rates and damper settings as a priority. Soften the car for more mechanical grip, but remember that this will impact the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. Raising or lowering damper settings are a good alternative for improving a wheel’s grip to the road.

Elsewhere, you may find that driving the car using the throttle results in plenty of lairy moments. It may be tempting at this point to turn up the traction control. But we recommend doing the exact opposite. The fastest teams will run this car without TC, as it will often cut in at the worst moment during a spin, making it impossible to correct.

LMP2 car jumping over the kerb at T1 Hockenheim - Image Credit:
LMP2 car jumping over the kerb at T1 Hockenheim. Image credit:

If you do find yourself struggling for rear-end traction, the best tweak you can make is on the throttle curve. This affects the linearity of the throttle pedal. In other words, the relation between your right foot and how the car interprets that throttle percentage.

Racing the Dallara LMP2

The Dallara LMP2 car in iRacing has plenty of choice when it comes to series in which to race. As of Season 2 of 2023, it sits as the second class car in both the IMSA iRacing Series and the European Sprint Series. Both of these championships have their own endurance equivalents and sit in the B- and A-class licenses respectively.

LMP2 Prototype Challenge is a standalone series for the Dallara. Fixed setup, 20-minute races which reward racecraft. It’s all about making moves early on as pitstop strategy and traffic won’t save your race here.

Speaking of racecraft in the Dallara, it is very difficult to make moves on drivers at a similar skill level. In the long, multiclass races, drivers will often wait for traffic and pitstop cycles to move up the field. But when those factors don’t help, you’ll find yourself stuck.

Racing the Dallara LMP2 car in iRacing takes a lot of patience
Racing the Dallara LMP2 car in iRacing takes a lot of patience. Image Credit:

This LMP2 car creates a lot of dirty air making it hard to follow closely. Mix that with a very minimal slipstream on offer and you get a cocktail that won’t excite most racers. Attacking and defending in the iRacing LMP2 car are all about getting good runs off corners and not making mistakes. When running behind another car, try to find alternate lines through the fast corners. Get clean air passing over your car as this will help you close up on the leading car.

Whatever you do, though. Do not get desperate or impatient. There’s a reason this car is only available to iRacers with a B-class licence. That’s because it is a hard car to drive and an even harder car to race.

Will you race the Dallara LMP2 car more often in iRacing after reading this guide? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

A petrol head and motorsports fan since the early days, sim racing has been a passion of mine for a number of years. The perfect way to immerse myself in my true dream job; racing driver. With lots of experience jotting down words about the car industry, I am happy to share my passion for pretend race cars here on Overtake!