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Interest Growing in LMP1 Privateer for 2018

Interest growing for LMP1 Privateer for 2018…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Interest is growing in the LMP1 Privateer ranks, with two additional teams evaluating programs that could result in up to a half-dozen non-hybrid prototypes on the FIA World Endurance Championship grid by as early as next year.

Both KCMG and a Swiss-based group led by Benoit Morand have expressed recent interest, joining the previously announced two-car SMP Racing effort with Dallara-built BR1 prototypes, Manor’s all-but-confirmed program with Ginetta’s new LMP1 customer car and the likely return of ByKolles Racing with an all-new prototype.

While absent from the WEC paddock this year, representatives from the Hong Kong-based team were in Silverstone last weekend to attend the launch of Ginetta’s yet-to-be-named LMP1 non-hybrid.

“KCMG has not drawn a line in endurance racing,” Head of KCMG Composites Philippe Charissoux told Endurance-Info. “Several programs are under consideration for 2018, including LMP1 non-hybrid.

“We are thinking about defining the best program for the team.”

Morand, meanwhile, was also in Silverstone, as the longtime prototype team owner/manager is looking to help lead a yet-to-be-announced team that is also working on an entry for the top prototype class.

“We were working on a LMP2 program,” Morand admitted, “but investors didn’t want to take up the challenge because it’s difficult to sell.

“LMP1 non-hybrid is not simple but the category offers interesting prospects.”

Should Morand’s program get the green light, he said it would likely be announced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“It’s an exciting project that takes a long time,” he said. “The key is the engine and we’re working on this subject. Development has already begun with a chassis around the engine.”

It’s understood Morand’s project involves a fourth different constructor in LMP1 non-hybrid, which would join the previously announced or currently operated efforts from ByKolles, Dallara/BR Engineering and Ginetta.

Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson, meanwhile, is bullish of being able to ultimately sell up to six of his new cars, which will go on sale for $1.67 million a piece, plus a $750,000 per year engine lease and support program.

“The dream would be three two-car teams, which would be absolutely fantastic,” Tomlinson told Sportscar365.

“Is that possible over the course of the project? Absolutely. Is that possible during the 2018 season? I think it’s optimistic but not impossible.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt in Year One there will be three-plus cars, from the interest out there.”

Manor is poised to add at least one Ginetta to its already existing Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 program, while LMP1 Privateer stalwarts Rebellion Racing has not ruled out a return to the class by as early as 2019, depending on the level of competition.

Work, meanwhile, continues on the joint Dallara-BR effort, with the Russian-backed prototype set to begin testing later this year, which is likely to follow a similar timeline to the Ginetta.

An extension of the current LMP1 non-hybrid regulations through the end of 2022, although with some engine modifications expected for next year, is understood to be triggering the movement from teams.

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

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Aces

    April 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Well, compared to previous years there’s actual interest. The privateers could very well save the entire class.

    • Bakkster

      April 20, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Hello, I’m Bakkster and I’m REALLY GAY

      • Nevil Clavain

        April 20, 2017 at 11:40 pm

        Hello, I’m Nevil Clavain and I’m EVEN MORE GAY

  2. P

    April 20, 2017 at 9:27 am

    DPi: Cadillac, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Audi.

    Why not bring those in. If not, Maybe Le Mans Only.

    • Larry

      April 20, 2017 at 11:52 am

      The DPi cars are more closely akin to P2.

      Even if they let them have all the power they can produce, they aren’t gonna run even non-hybrid P1 speeds.

      Audi doesn’t have a DPi.

      • Andres

        April 20, 2017 at 7:07 pm

        THE CADILLAC DPI HAD WAY MORE THAN 100HP MORE THAN THE LMP1 CARS BEFORE IMSA SCREWED THEIR ENGINE, REMEMBER THE HYBRID POWER THE P1 CARS HAVE IS ONLY FOR SIX SECONDS A LAP, SO FROM 1000HP THEY HAVE COMBINED, THEY ONLY HAVE THAT NUMBER FOR SIX SECONDS, THE REST OF THE LAPTIME, THEY HAVE HALF THAT NUMBER, AND THE CADILLAC HAD MORE THAN 600HP THE WEEKEND OF DAYTONA RACE, THEN GOT SCREED AND STILL WON THE OTHER RACES

    • P1

      April 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

      no 7D3, this will not happen unless the FIA-ACO allows it.

      • P

        April 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

        You’ve got the wrong guy.

        7D3 gave up blogging a few months ago.

    • Fabio

      April 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Oh no, not this again

  3. randommotorsportguy

    April 20, 2017 at 10:49 am

    That is good news.

    But they need to bring in new rules and regulations to bring the LMP1 non hybrids up against the LMP1 hybrids so they can go for overall wins so essentially increase the LMP1 non hybrids pace whilst not raising too many costs.

    Would be nice to get some competition on board.

    And even someone suggesting DPi well why not.

    Even though LMP1 hybrid teams will hate it would be good for the future and to bring numbers up.

  4. WBrowning

    April 20, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Do you really think the LMP1 hybrid teams are not going to stick around if non-hybrid cars can be competitive for wins at maybe 20% of the cost to run.

    I would just as soon see the hybrids go away and bump up the LMP2 and DPi car performance and run them everywhere. With the IMSA type of formula (once they get the BoP figured out) factories teams and privateers could battle it out for overall wins, it would be great.

    • Larry

      April 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

      WB, I agree about the hybrids going away. That’s F1 money and it’s never going to really attract many cars.

      The only difference in what you way is that I would do away with the spec engine crap in P2, let them run whatever they want without all the DPi rules about bodywork and yeah, allow them and DPi to increase their power.

      • Andres

        April 20, 2017 at 7:11 pm

        ACTUALLY DPI HAS REDUCED ITS POWER DUE TO THE GIBSON SPEC CARS HAVING NO RLIABILITY AND RUNNING DETUNED TOO BY THE TEAMS THEY RUN THEM, SPECIALLY CADILLAC, NISSAN WILL BE WAY GOOD WITH MORE TESTING HOURS AND WITHOUT THE CRAPPY DRIVING OF THE ESM TEAM

  5. Luc

    April 20, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Good news. But a couple of potential issues; Benoit Morand and ByKolles. Both are not exactly knows as reliable parties for various reasons involving money and fraud.

    • TF110

      April 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Yet here we are with Kolles as the only private p1 team this year. This ‘unreliable’ guy is flying the flag for the class currently. And, get this, he managed to get the Nissan GTR-LM engine in the back of his car. I give that team kudos for sticking with it and doing the hard thing instead of the easy way out and going Oreca P2.

      • Cactus Tony

        April 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        “And, get this, he managed to get the Nissan GTR-LM engine in the back of his car.”

        Alternate take: Nissan managed to find a sucker to buy their castoffs.

        If what Kolles is doing is “flying the flag for the class” then the flag needs to be lowered to half-mast.

        • Mike D.

          April 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

          > Alternate take: Nissan managed to find a sucker to buy their castoffs.

          There was little wrong with the Nissan P1 ICE engine. It was the hybrid system that ruined the program.

    • Fabio

      April 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      ByKolles has been around consistently (under various names, albeit) since the first season of WEC. I think that’s as reliable as it gets.

      • Helmut

        April 21, 2017 at 9:51 am

        ByKolles has been reliably unrealiable. I mean, it’s nice that someone competes in that class, but in the end it turns out to be a sidekick, allowing to bet whether they wreck their car after 2 or 7 laps, whether they finish behind 5 LMP2 or whether they don’t finish at all.

        Now that they’ve turned LMP2 to spec there is at least some justification for having a privateer LMP1 class, but I would prefer an LMP2 category with no restrictions with regard to engine suppliers, then go with hybrid LMP for manufacturers and non-hybrid LMP for privateers and that’s it. One could think of some technical restrictions / power limitation / BoP for ELMS, AsLMS so that it remains a team competition, but for WEC it should be competition of teams and material (different cars, different engines). It’s meant to be a world series after all.

        Anyway, just some reflections. They won’t become true.

  6. jake

    April 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

    LMP1 will become DPi formula for factories to keep costs from killing the class and privateers will be able to run alternates like Ginetta & SMP. i wouldn’t be surprised if Riley, Oreca, & Onroak team up with privateers like dallara/SMP have done

    • TF110

      April 20, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      No, it won’t. European fans have already spoken (in voting) that they have little interest in the lmp1 cars becoming a dpi like formula. They don’t want badge engineering. I hear this cost excuse thrown about like that is the sole reason for 2 manufacturers. In reality the team that spent the most money is the one that left- Audi. And that was because of the dieselgate scandal to save face. The costs are not so much better but that is not the sole reason for lack of participation.

      • Helmut

        April 21, 2017 at 9:55 am

        “European fans have already spoken (in voting) that they have little interest in the lmp1 cars becoming a dpi like formula.”

        Can you provide some links to those votings? Personally, I don’t like the idea of badge engineering, but I still prefer those (a base car equipped with an engine from manufacturer xyz) over the speculated privateer LMP1, which won’t be competitive overall anyway and besides, probably not that reliable, possibly struggling with LMP2 then.

  7. guest

    April 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Like any LMP1 story, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  8. Kirk

    April 20, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Did anybody watch Silverstone? The ByKolles car was outclassed by many P2 cars. For the non-hybrid P1 cars to have any relevance at all they need to have performance at least in the same ballpark as the hybrids. They shouldn’t be racing with the P2 cars.

    Maybe the WEC needs to embrace the DPi concept so they can attract more manufacturer and privateer teams. The way it is now no privateer wants to compete because of the cost, and manufacturers want to be guaranteed wins because of the huge cost to run a hybrid car. Make running a top line car a LOT less expensive and you’ll see increased manufacturer AND privateer participation. Can you imagine what LeMans would be like with DPi style cars from Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Cadillac, Mazda, Nissan, etc.? It would be awesome!

    • Fabio

      April 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      ByKolles will present an all-new car next year. This car is basically the same since 2014, and it’s been outclassed since its debut.
      The P1 non-hybrid rules will change too for next year. The P2 rules came in a year earlier than the P1-L rules, and that’s part of the reason why byKolles got behind. But these new P1-L cars will be right up there.
      The goal is to get to 2-3sec (around 6-9sec at LM) a lap off from a P1-HY. That would put the comfortably out of P2 reach, and still not as close to P1-HY, but close enough to be able to profit from a glitch in one of them.
      That’s what Rebellion wanted all along, and they’ve said it many times. They dont need to be in the same second as Porsche, just not as far as last year, when the P1-HYs could crash, come to the garage, fix it, and still come back far ahead.

      • Kirk

        April 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        That would be better, but isn’t a perfect solution. Somehow the WEC needs to come up with a way to merge privateers and factories to compete together so manufacturers could come and go without it severely impacting the series. The series needs to be impervious to the financial ups and downs of any one or two car makers.

      • Helmut

        April 21, 2017 at 9:58 am

        I would be very surprised if their new car did any better. The LMP2 was no success, the LMP1 was no success, and the new LMP1 will be no success.

        “The goal is to get to 2-3sec (around 6-9sec at LM) a lap off from a P1-HY.”
        Hasn’t this been the goal all the time, possibly even a smaller gap at Le Mans?

  9. Bob

    April 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Very misleading article. No one has confirmed anything.

    • guest

      April 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      Right, doesn’t matter if the constructors have a solid package. If no customers, no entries. But if you have “additional LMP1 entries” in the article title, “LMP1 Master Race” has a field day.

  10. joel

    April 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    the hybrid is here to stay. anybody that can build a non hybrid that can produce hybrid type horsepower and durability good luck.i would rather watch porsche and toyota battle it out with 1000hp each than 20 lmp2 spec engine cars. horsepower and speed rule.

    • Andres

      April 21, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      THEN YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE 1000HP, THEY CAN USE IT FOR ONLY SIX FREAKING SECONDS, THIS IS NOTHING, AFTER THAT SIX SECONDS, THEY HAVE ONLY AROUND 500HP, SO A DPI IS MORE POWERFUL RIGHT NOW, I KNOW, THE DPI CARS HAVE MORE WEIGHT, BUT CUT DOWN THAT WEIGHT AND GIVE THEM MORE DOWNFORCE AND THEY WILL BE AT THE SAME LEVEL

    • Anonymous

      May 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Mercedes-Sauber C9 have almost 1000hp (in 1989!) from a 5.0L Turbo V8, it also won outright that year. It recorded such high speeds down the Mulsanne that from 1990 they installed the 3 chicanes. Who needs a hybrid system?!!

      The real problem I think is that most manufacturers are not interested in hybrid road cars, most mainstream manufacturers want fully electric vehicles, hybrids are expensive, too expensive to mass produce an entire range. But ACO/FIA want to make Motorsport “relevant” to the average road cars.

  11. NorthSask

    April 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    It seems like a simpler hybrid solution, like the kinetic recovery systems that have been around for some time now could allow manufacturers a marketing a development angle while also minimizing costs for privateers. There would be a bunch of details to sort and I think even a competitively powered spec KERS unit for privateers to choose could be possible. The factories still may not love having to fight with the better funded privateers, but that had been the case in sports cars for many years and they would be saving money, which no one would complain about.

  12. bmwM1

    April 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    With all of these new teams running in LMP-1 for 2018, that’s the class to be in. Who would have thought it was going to get so big.

    • Helmut

      April 21, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Speculations, rumours. That’s it at the moment. Some want to build LMP1, but let’s see when they arrive at the track…

  13. Joe C.

    April 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    It feels like the thing to do is not to get rid of LMP1 all together but to incorporate DPI format as a LMP 2 pro class. Maybe drop LMP1L in the process?

  14. AF

    April 21, 2017 at 4:01 am

    If Kolles were not, as currently restricted to ~630hp, they would have more of a fighting chance to be ahead of the P2 cars. Furthermore, and I haven’t seen this mentioned by the DPI brown-nosers, but the car was actually 2 seconds quicker than last year, on a track that doesn’t suit the package and without the front aerodynamic upgrades they’re expecting for Spa. DPI is a great concept in terms of a cost-capped manufacturer formula, but it doesn’t allow much in the way of innovation or sophistication beyond the new P2 cars.

    • Helmut

      April 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

      The non-hybrid LMP1 are certainly not sophisticated. Up to now there haven’t been any “proper” non-hybrid LMP1, it’s just “modified” LMP2 material. Accordingly, it’s pretty pointless to discuss whether they do any good or not because they haven’t tried to tap the full potential given the regulations. The CLM still goes back to the LMP2 and the R-One corresponds to the Oreca 05. There would have been many ways to improve the cars (beyond the engines) wih regard to e. g. advanced aerodynamics. This season the minimum weight is set to 833 kg for the non-hybrid LMP1, I’m not sure whether ByKolles was able to reduce weight accordingly (last year the minimum weight was 850 kg and there had been speculations that the CLM was overweight).

    • Andres

      April 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      THE P2 CARS SUCKS AGAINST THE DPI ONES, YOU ALL SEEN THAT IN THE FIRST THREE RACES OF IMSA SEASON, IM NOT SAYING THOSE 4 CHASSIS THAT WERE MADE SUCKS, BUT THE ENGINE IS SO AWFUL, IT HAS NO RELIABILITY, THEN THE NISSAN AND CADILLAC DPI ARE NICE CARS THAT CAN BE RACED WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS IN P1 PRIVATEER AND BE VERY CLOSE OR IN THE SAME LEVELOF PERFORMANCE THAT THE HYBRIDS

  15. Jim

    September 9, 2017 at 3:29 am

    I think I broke my Willy. Help me?

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