Ginetta Cars confirmed today that they are developing a new LMP1 class prototype for the FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans. After the recent announcement of a five year freeze in the regulations for LMP1 cars, the Leeds based manufacturer have decided the time is right to add to their existing prototype product range including the Ginetta-Nissan LMP3 and Ginetta G57-P2.
The LMP1 car design began from a clean sheet and the company has recruited direct LMP1 experience to spearhead the project. New additions to the design team include former Peugeot Sport Total designer Paolo Catone, whose achievements include the Le Mans winning Peugeot 908 HDi FAP and the stillborn Peugeot 908 Hybrid4. Catone also worked on the BR Engineering BR01 LMP2 chassis which took Russia to the podium at Le Mans for the first time.
Ginetta also states that it has recruited a new Head of Aerodyanmics who has yet to be named but who ‘brings LMP1-H experience‘ suggesting the new addition to the team has come from the recently ended Audi R18 project. Additionally, Adrian Reynard, the owner of ARC and experienced race car developer has been brought into the team to lead the aerodynamic development of the new chassis.
Reynard commented, “This certainly appeals to my competitive nature. Aerodynamics, drive-ability and fuel efficiency dominate race car performance in this category. With the highly talented team of experienced engineers that Ginetta has available, this LMP1 contender will be designed and developed to challenge at the highest level. Lawrence has a strong desire to create the very best LMP1 car available for the privateer and he has the commitment to deliver a production run of these”
Talks are at an advanced stage for both engine and gearbox supply. MECHACROME are highly likely to supply the engines of the new LMP1 machine, which will develop up to 200bhp more than an LMP2 car’s power plant. The gearbox is set to come from Xtrac, who supply gearboxes across the entire range of motorsport, from Rally and the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship up to the Verizon Indycar Series and Formula 1.
Lawrence Tomlinson, chairman of Ginetta said, I’m hugely thankful to the ACO for the opportunity to run at the front and challenge for overall podiums. The Ginetta design team’s ability has already been proven by the class dominating Ginetta LMP3 and G57. With Adrian and Paolo on board, the performance of the Ginetta LMP1 is going to be amazing. We are now offering a genuine ladder for our customers all the way from first race to Le Mans which is incredibly exciting for me.”
Paolo Catone added, I’m delighted to be involved in this exciting and challenging project with Ginetta and believe the merging of different experiences, in cooperation with the technical staff in place, will generate a competitive project for the new LMP1 Privateers market.”
The announcement brings renewed hope for the privateer class at Le Mans. At the close of the 2016 season in Bahrain, Rebellion Racing consigned their R-One P1 project to history, opting instead to continue their technical relationship with French prototype manufacturer Oreca in the LMP2 category for 2017. That left only the troubled CLM P1/01 project from the byKolles team of former F1 team owner Colin Kolles in the privateer only LMP1-L class.
“More great news for endurance racing!” was the judgement of Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the organisers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “Ginetta has proven its expertise in creating successful high performance chassis in G57 and Ginetta LMP3 categories and entering LMP1, the top tier category of endurance racing, appears now to be an obvious move for Ginetta as it moves forward. The valued expertise of Ginetta’s partners for this programme is also very promising for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship.”
The initial plan for the new project is to produce 10 chassis to support six entries into the FIA WEC. Ginetta will not run the car themselves, using the Team LNT in-house racing outfit which has run the G55 GT3 in British GT and the LMP3 car in European Le Mans Series competition, along with selected longer endurance events. Talks are currently underway with PRT Racing who currently run Ginetta LMP3 cars in the Asian Le Mans Series and established Lamborghini and Porsche specialists ARC Bratislava, who recently contested the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with a Huracan GT3.
Miro Konopka, team manager at ARC Bratislava said, “After competing for many years in worldwide GT racing, Ginetta gave me the opportunity to move into prototypes with their LMP3. We are incredibly excited about this new chassis which will allow me to expand my motorsport platforms to include the WEC and every team and driver’s ambition, to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
The as yet un-named LMP1 chassis is due to begin testing shortly after the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, leaving the Ginetta team only 10 months to perfect and complete the six required chassis before the first round of the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship in April.