Stalwart 24 Hours of Le Mans entrants Greaves Motorsport and Murphy Prototypes, could not manage to make sufficient deals to remain in the European Le Mans Series this year. However, the British-based teams are viewing the 2017 season as a sabbatical year, with intentions to return to endurance racing in 2018.
Both teams competed in a full LMP2 season in the ELMS last year and were looking to progress up to the World Endurance Championship. Murphy has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the last six consecutive race meets and hoped to take their team into the WEC to progress to the next level of endurance racing. It was at the final moments that the team had to pull their team from the series as the deal did not come together.
Two hours before the deadline team boss Greg Murphy was still trying to get a team together. But it was lack of driver commitment that saw the team fall through. With only one out of three drivers managing to give a full season commitment to the team, Murphy did not see the point in fighting for an entry spot for a team that may not be able to compete in all races.
Greaves Motorsport had been looking at entries in both ELMS and WEC but no deals in either series came to light. Greaves Motorsport had been hoping to run a Dallara-Gibson P217 under Krohn Racing, but when long-time sportscar owner and driver Tracy Krohn put racing plans on hold the team lost their prospective car.
Although the teams were forced into a sabbatical year, they are not downhearted about the prospects of returning to the endurance racing scene in a year’s time. Greaves Motorsport boss Tim Greaves has been clear in his prospects for the future and is certain that 2017 will be a sabbatical year. His team will look at WEC and ELMS entries for the 2018 season.
Greaves may also return to the endurance grid in the latter stages of the year on race-by-race deals so the team can keep sharp for a full-time return next year.
Murphy, who ran in the LMP3 class in last year’s ELMS, has not expressed such a keen interest to return to endurance racing, with boss Greg Murphy stating that various racing disciplines are being explored for his team in 2018. The team wishes to expand and continue the successful racing they have had to date and various single-seater categories have shown a place of interest for team bosses.
Although various options for Murphy Prototypes are being explored, Murphy has said he expects to be returning to the ELMS paddock in 2018 with an Ave-Riley AR-2 LMP3 challenger. The probability of the team returning to the LMP2 class next year is low, but Murphy has expressed it is his goal to get his team back into Le Mans in the long term.