In a new attempt to make their mark in endurance racing, British constructor Perrinn have switched their focus from the 2018 LMP1-Privateer class to an all-electric challenger that will take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The plan, named Project 424, is a four-wheel-drive electric car and comes from the ashes of the 2018 LMP1-Privateer project.
Nicolas Perrin founded the company earlier this year to out together a challenger for the 2018 season after the LMP1 regulations had been frozen until 2020. The progress had been looking good for the Yorkshire-based team, with rumours that two cars had been provisionally sold to an undisclosed team. However, it has become clear recently that this deal has fallen through and the prospects of the Perrinn 2018-challenger were not good. The company aborted their ambitions for next year and changed the focus of their project to an all-electric car.
Project 424 has been born out of what had already been developed in the LMP1 project. The chassis and design have been tweaked so that the electric only engine can be fitted. Perrinn plan to develop this car over the next few years until it is at a stage where it’s performance can be demonstrated at a competitive level at circuits around the world. The aim of the project is to be able to race competitively at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We are planning to build the fastest electric racing car in the world and prove it on different circuits, such as the Nurburgring-Nordschleife,” Perrin told Autosport. “The target is to develop the car next year and start setting records in 2019. We want to show that an electric car can be as fast as an LMP1.”
Although the main ambition of Project 424 is to race at Le Mans, Perrin was keen to stress how the technology was not yet there to positively demonstrate an electric cars ability at the blue-ribbon event. Even though ‘Garage 56’ remains available for teams with experimental technology, Perrin admitted that he was not looking at that entry slot to the 24-hour event.
“I don’t think that will be possible in the next few years, which is why we have decided to go in this direction,” he explained. “It is going to take time for an electric car to race at Le Mans, but we want to be ready for that moment. The performance is already there and the industry is pushing to increase the speed of battery charging, which would allow electric cars to race at Le Mans.
“It’s not going to take 10 years — I’m optimistic that it could happen in five years, but it might take a little bit longer.”
The specifications of the prospect car is that it will have a power output of 870bhp and a weight of about 1100kg. The team are reworking the chassis so it takes into account the new cockpit safety rules that were originally supposed to come into action in the 2018 season.
Even though this seems like positive steps for the team, Perrinn is currently seeking funding for the new venture. “We are looking for partners and also investors who are interested in taking a percentage in the company.” Perrin stated.