Ginetta has already stated that they will be manufacturing a Le Mans Prototype 1 chassis for the 2018 World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours. However, more detail has been revealed and they could be supplying as many as six LMP1 chassis for the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.
During Ginetta’s media day at Brands Hatch, the commercial director Nick Portlock announced that Ginetta is set to supply Manor and potentially two other teams with two cars, meaning there will be six Ginetta chassis on the 2018 grid. All six cars would be full season entries.
“The contract with Manor is in its final stages, so we should hopefully be confirming that soon, but we’re also looking at working with more customer teams.” Portlock said to Autocar. He was careful not to mention the names of the two potential teams, but Ginetta has pre-existing links to ARC Bratislava and PRT Racing in the Le Mans Prototype 3 class, so it would be safe to assume they are likely candidates for the four potential Ginetta LMP1 chassis.
“We have a top design team with experience from Le Mans and Formula 1 working on the new car. We’re using an F1 wind tunnel for development, although I can’t confirm which team’s yet, and Paolo Catone [who designed the 2009 Le Mans-winning Peugeot 908 HDi FAP] is having a big impact.”
With Ginetta using a V8 MECACHROME engine for their LMP1 chassis, it has also been confirmed that the unnamed Ginetta LMP1 chassis will share some technical parts that MECACHROME produced for Formula 2. Ginetta has not confirmed which technical elements will be shared between the two different class cars but an output of around 800bhp is expected.
The Ginetta LMP1 challenger has been in development for a while now, and Portlock states that the development is now in the advanced stages with the engine having already been tested on a dyno. The car will have its first track running in the coming months. Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson will be the drivers involved in the developmental track testing of the Ginetta LMP1.
Both drivers have a lot of experience racing and winning in Ginettas, with both having won in the G57-P2 prototype in Europe’s V de V series. The Ginetta Young Driver graduate Jordan Sanders is also expected to have a big input on the Ginetta LMP1’s developmental track running. “The LMP1 car could effectively be the fastest customer car on sale in the world.” Robertson said.
Company chairman Lawrence Tomlinson has started Ginetta’s Le Mans ambitions as part of a plan to expand the growth of the Ginetta company. This would, in the future, lead to Ginetta fielding more cars in racing grids across the world, adapting Ginetta to a more international racing caliber. This extended racing ambition could see Ginetta targeting championships that require entered cars to be based on road legal models. If this were to happen, Ginetta could expand their road production and bring back plans of selling the G50 in its road legal form, plans which have currently been cancelled.
“It’s a really exciting time to be at Ginetta,” Portlock said. “You come into the office one day and see the drawings and then another day you see the new parts for the car.
“In the future, you might see more cars that have a road derivative, but that’s purely so that you can have them homologated for racing. Our aspirations are to make Ginetta as successful a business as possible. We’re a British manufacturer based in Yorkshire that wants to take on the world.”