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Hayden “Skeptical” Over Strength of LMP1 Privateer Grid for 2018

Rebellion’s Hayden “skeptical” over strength of privateer grid for 2018…

Photo: Toyota

Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden says he’s “skeptical” over the strength of the LMP1 Privateer grid next year, admitting another season of LMP2 would be the “pragmatic” move for the Anglo-Swiss squad.

Questions have not only surrounded the future of manufacturer involvement from Porsche and potentially Toyota, but also the shape of the privateer subclass, which has yet to see significant commitments beyond SMP Racing’s announced Dallara-BR Engineering effort.

While progress continues on Ginetta’s LMP1 non-hybrid car, the British constructor has yet to receive a firm order, while details on Perrinn’s confirmed customer has not been revealed.

It’s forced Hayden to take a wait-and-see approach before committing to a return to the top prototype class.

“Another year of P2 would be a very pragmatic move,” he told Sportscar365. “I think the shape of P1 needs to form a little bit for next year. It’s very unclear.

“If you’re going to be doing P1, you sort of need to be making those decisions now.

“It’s very easy to say you’re going to go and do it. Making it happen takes a lot more. I’m somewhat skeptical of what that grid will look like.

“If it does strengthen up and if it does materialize, I’m sure Rebellion would want to be part of that. But I don’t think we’ll see that strength until 2019.”

Fellow LMP2 entrant Jota Sport is in a similar situation, with the Sam Hignett-led squad, which operates the Jackie Chan DC Racing team, also evaluating options but not yet ready to pull the trigger.

A LMP1 program for DC/Jota, however, could depend on the commitment of a Chinese manufacturer, which the team has been actively pursing in recent months.

“We’re looking at that together and what can and cannot be done,” Hignett told Sportscar365. “But we’re at this transition period with LMP1 and we need to better understand the LMP1 [non-hybrid] regulations and how they’re going to control the customer cars.

“For me reading the regs, they’ll be done on fuel flow. I want to see other people do it first and understand how BoP is going to work.

“And then what happens with the factories? We need them so we hope they’ll stay.

“Then you need to come up with a damn good LMP1 car to beat the ORECA P2 car. It’s got to be a serious bit of kit.

“That’s the other problem; you convince someone to spend a fortune developing an LMP1 car and what if it’s just [barely] quicker than [LMP2]?

“It needs to be a chunk quicker than these to justify [the investment].”

While the Ginetta is the furthest along in its development, Hayden said an upgraded LMP2 car could even be an option. 

“[Maybe] you could even do something in a pseudo-DPi fashion, where you put a slightly different engine in the Oreca [LMP2] chassis, for example,” he said. 

“Maybe you wouldn’t need to change that much to get another 50 horsepower or something that could put you just a little ahead of the P2 class.”

Despite questions over the number of potential LMP1 non-hybrid entrants next year, ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil said he feels “very optimistic” in the sub-class’ future.

“I think what happened at Le Mans gives some ideas to some people,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

“We have decided the rules and they are ongoing. There are new projects that will be on the track next year. It’s a new starting point and I’m very optimistic.

“We know about the Dallara and Ginetta projects, but how many cars will be on the grid, we have different projections.”

One factor on next year’s LMP1 non-hybrid car count, however, could depend on the fate of the two remaining LMP1 manufacturers, with Porsche set to decide later this month whether it will end its factory hybrid program one year early.

Should Porsche’s program come to an end, it could prompt Toyota to exit as well, resulting in the collapse of the LMP1 hybrid class and encouraging privateer teams to step up in order to fight for overall wins.

Hayden admitted it could open up a “huge opportunity” and change their short-term outlook on the class.

“If Porsche and Toyota decides to leave, I guess we’ll probably know that soon, at the end of August maybe, which wouldn’t be overly late for pushing the button,” he said.

“You’ve got cars like the Ginetta which are currently well into development, so it’s not like they would be starting from square-one.

“I guess it would be possible to pick the phone up and speak to the guys at Ginetta and say, ‘Actually, we are interested.'”

However, Hayden said Rebellion wouldn’t want to make the move unless he’s assured others will also come.

“If Porsche and Toyota left and we came in and no one else did, it would be a hollow, hollow victory,” he said. “That’s why it almost needs to develop a bit.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. dario

    July 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Isn’t Ginetta going to have 750-800HP? How could an “upgraded” LMP2 with only 50 extra HP be competitive against that?

    • Max

      July 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

      The Nissan in the ByKolles entry should have plenty of Horsepower but the chassis is a dog at most tracks. Hayden’s point is that the Oreca 07 chassis makes up time that it looses by being down on horsepower.

      It’s a bit like last year’s P2 v.s. DP. Elegance v.s. brute force.

      Now if you nail the chassis and the engine, the P2s probably won’t be competitive against vanilla LMP1. Hayden seems a bit sore after their first go around with that.

      • AudiTT

        July 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        The Ginetta’s aero is being designed by one of the head aero guys from the 919 project so knows what figures they need to achieve. If you look at this years ByKolles its rear wing and front bodywork is around 10-15% wider than last year, so that’s another advantage. P1’s are designed to generate greater overall downforce levels as they have more power.

        The P2’s have a minimum weight around 900kg, P1-L is closer to 800kg.

        Build a P1-L to the standards of the new gen P2’s and you should be capable of 3.20 or under at Le Mans.As an interim option an Oreca 07 built to P1-L spec would be a fine option, but at Le Mans would lose out on top speed and fuel economy.

      • David

        July 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        Appendix B of LMP1 technical regulations says that also cars without ERS have a certain max petrol flow and petrol energy (MJ/lap). So they are also part of the EoT.
        I read the Nissan can only produce around 630 HP because of this restriction.

        • AudiTT

          July 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          That’s the final part of the ’18 regs to be determined. Ginetta say they can produce 700bhp with direct injection on the Mechachrome engine. They’re looking to up the fuel flow allocation to get 750bhp+.

  2. Max

    July 17, 2017 at 10:37 am

    > “[Maybe] you could even do something in a pseudo-DPi fashion, where you put a slightly different engine in the Oreca [LMP2] chassis, for example,” he said.

    Rebellion R-Two anyone?

    • Steven

      July 17, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Rebellion R-One was made before the Oreca 05. The 05 was actually the modified LMP2 version.

  3. jason

    July 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

    If Porsche goes, the onus is on Toyota to decide quickly what they will do. Toyota for all we know will decide to do Le Mans only perhaps. I’d prefer they withdraw entirely if Porsche goes though. That would allow LMP1 to be a real free or all scramble in pre Le Mans entry list day in Feb 2018.

    • welp

      July 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Toyota has repeatedly said they will only race if they have competition.

  4. Mike

    July 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Could have seen this coming. Bart’s a smart man, he committed to a Rebellion 2019 return if anything and that let some of these likely-non existent programs shake out.

    Ginetta’s car was priced (chassis+Mechachrome engine lease) at 2 million GBP, around 6-8x a P2 to say nothing of the running program (Known to be at least 30% over P2 parts wise). Their most likely buyer is Manor, who gave the Peter Baron answer of (If there is financing that makes sense/works, we’ll do it). ARC’s program has been in doubt in February.

    Perrinn’s engine was supposed to be announced at LeMans – crickets. Crickets as well on their supposed buyer. And on developmental efforts.

    SMP’s Dallaras are most likely and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just 1 in 2018. The only reason I would see it being 2 is if either they got assurances from the ACO that 2 SMPs + ByKolles would bring back the P1L Trophy OR those were the only 3 P1s left and they needed to have the second for a class podium to even exist.

    Don’t be surprised if there are 4-5 P1s on the grid MAX in 2018, not the 6-10 people seem to keep hyping.

  5. AudiTT

    July 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Ginetta’s P1 chassis costs £1.3m, a P2 chassis £500k (plus engine and spares). The £2m figure includes engine lease and track technical support. Over the course of a 3-5yr program upfront running costs aren’t make or break.

    I suspect we’ll see four Ginetta’s in the first year. Le Mans was a big jolt to potential entrants. Le Mans is potentially on a plate (with or without hybrids) due to reliability issues.

    SMP/ART’s Dallara is clouded in mystery, as was their P2. But they’ve always been on the grid with multiple LMP’s & GT’s.

    Perrinn we’ok have to wait and see.

    It’s interesting to hear Hayden bring up the prospect of a P1 varient of the Oreca 07. Should Porsche and/or Toyota pull out, I don’t think they could resist entering P1 in some form or other.

    So much of this P1 talk reminds me of P2. We ended up with 25 P2’s at Le Mans this year, with entries turned away. This time last year I’m not sure if any of those programs had been announced.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Oreca is already dominating WEC LMP2. Perhaps next year they can dominate LMP1 as well.

      • BarnOwlLover

        July 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

        Rebellion R-One=Oreca 05, Oreca 05=Oreca 07

        • BarnOwlLover

          July 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

          LMP1 and LMP2 are built to the same chassis rules under the ACO’s technical regulations. All you have to do is change the engine and go from air restrictors to fuel flow meters. Mind you, I think that fuel flow is stupid and offers no benefits to private teams at this level.

  6. Andy Flinn

    July 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Mike, Peter Baron – 2012 WEC LMP2 champion – is also a smart man.

    I can’t imagine committing to the purchase of a race car before I know what it is going to cost.

    • Mike

      July 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I never said he wasn’t.

      That’s partially my point. (Though we do know what the Ginetta is going to cost and that was half the car count speculation). My point is Baron is a past champion and doesn’t NOT know how to run a business. Heck he’s been making LMPC a business where it benefits him through this final year of its existence. Not many teams can say that (only 3 full time).

      We/A lot of people make fun of Baron for his ‘we’re trying to do this’ statements and then no showing. But the reality is selling the programs in the modern economic climates, even to rich amateurs, is difficult.

      • Andy Flinn

        July 17, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Mike, I agree with you. The issues in Venezuela really didn’t help his team, either.

  7. TF110

    July 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Toyota won’t pull out. Their ceo just said they’ll be back next year. Just wishful thinking of (non)fans to have only private teams as the top class. That doesn’t bring any headlines to the series. And no exposure. That means no coverage. You need the factory cars there just for namesake.

    • Sylvester

      July 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Private P1 teams bring no exposure? I’m not sure how the exposure of the WEC could be much lower than it currently is. I live in the population-dense northeast US and I could walk the streets around my home and question 100 people about the WEC.

      I guarantee that 100 out of 100 would never have heard of it. This whole combined argument about the exposure/road relevance of the WEC is absolutely ludicrous. No one, repeat NO ONE apart from a paltry number of sports car fans is aware of it.

      Given the unsustainable configuration of the WEC currently, factory presence in P1 will not advance the series. Likewise, their absence won’t leave much of a mark.

      • AudiTT

        July 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        Northeast US is hardly the best barometer for the relevance/popularity of a largely European/Asian focused series. I’m guessing they have little knowledge of the WRC, WTCC, DTM, basically anything outside Indy 500, NASCAR and maybe the odd F1 driver.

        WEC is at the top tier of motorsport, obviously F1 and NASCAR (in the US), are on another level entirely in terms of profile.

        • Seth

          July 17, 2017 at 8:14 pm

          even NASCAR isn’t that popular anymore in the states

        • Sylvester

          July 17, 2017 at 9:44 pm

          The profile of the WEC is tiny globally. If there’s anywhere in the world such a “global sportscar series” should be known it is in the gigantic media market that is the northeast US. That is obviously not the case.

          That holds just as true in Asia and in Europe as well. The number of people who have any knowledge of the WEC on either of those continents is similarly miniscule. That makes the budgets for LMP1 currently all the more insane. The WEC enjoys only one race – Le Mans – that attracts the viewership F1 attracts regularly.

          Yet P1 Hybrid budgets are similar to those in F1, $100-$300. For what??? Walk down the street in France and ask people who Lionel Messi or Chris Froome are. Nine out of ten will know. Ask them what a Toyota TS050 Hybrid is. Virtually none will know – or be familiar with names like Anthony Davidson or Kazuki Nakajima or Andre Lotterer or Nick Tandy.

          The WEC is unsustainable, period. It makes no financial sense. It has one event anyone cares about but costs as much as Formula One. F1 makes little sense as well currently so how does anyone justify the WEC?

          It isn’t road relevant either. Technology trickles up to WEC, not down. If you like the WEC, grand. But if you want to see it continue the outrageous expense to exposure ratio must be flipped entirely upside down. So too must the farcical belief that “WEC is a development forum for technology”.

          Racing – period – is what the WEC or any series should be about. Technology is no longer developed via racing, and the associated spin and political correctness that comes from such nonsense should have no place in racing.

          No one is curing cancer or saving the environment in any form of racing. Enough of the BS. Emphasize racing and entertainment or the WEC (any many other series) will die.

    • welp

      July 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Porsche also said they’ll be back next year, Toyota will only be here as long as they have a manufacture to race against.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      TF, wouldn’t winning Le Mans without Porsche, Audi (or even Nissan) be a bit of a hollow victory? Peugeot’s win at Sebring in 2010 will always have an asterisk next to it (no protested Audi competition).

      With no Porsche, Toyota would be fighting the La Sarthe and maybe a few upstart privateers more than any established manufacturer for the victory.

    • Steven

      July 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      2004 and 2005 had zero factory efforts, yet the racing carried on with plenty of entries.

      If Toyota and Porsche both leave, the major LMP2 teams would all jump to LMP1 for the chance to be immortalized as a Le Mans overall winner.

      • GR88

        July 17, 2017 at 8:56 pm

        Ordinarily with a setback like this we’d be looking at a fallback plan like LMP2. This is quite a unique ‘criis’ in that new privateer LMP1’s are already in development. No one wants to see manufacturers pull out, but there’s an immediate opportunity for privateers to step up with state of the art cars. Also an opportunity for manufacturers to get involved with engine supply.

  8. Anonymous

    July 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Rebellion have (just) announced a technical tie-up with Zenvo, so why not build a Rebellion-Zenvo RZ-Two LMP-1 in 2019 (I suspect this car will never turn up)

    The real problem might be that the new for 2020 LMP-1 regs have not changed enough to peak sufficient interest, except potentially from companies that promote “Plug-In” Hybrid technology i.e. Mitsubishi!!!

    This is a horrible thought I know but LMP-1 is becoming an increasingly endangered species!!

    The 2020 LMP-1 regs need re-writing if ACO want the class to survive!!!!

  9. Antonio Miles

    July 17, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    In response to Sylvester & AudiTT, you’re absolutely right about the northeast US not having much knowledge about this series. I myself LOVE IT!! This coming from someone who lives around NASCAR & IndyCar. But I’ve been hooked on sportscar racing since 2005. I love the mix prototypes & GT cars. Different looks, different sounds. Variety!! 👍 👍 But I wish the LMP1 cars would be more simplistic like the Peugeot 908 HDI & Pescarolo 01, without hybrid technology,but still quick enough to lap around Le Mans. These new LMP2 cars would absolutely destroy the Porsche RS Spyder, and that wasn’t a slouch!

    • Steven

      July 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Don’t tell that to Andres. He’s so sure that the Oreca 07 and Gibson are junk even though they lapped Le Mans over 7-8 seconds faster than the Porsche RS Spyder.

      • Davy

        July 18, 2017 at 1:24 am

        I am sure the Porsche RS would be just as quick if they took off that draconian air restrictor.

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