Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson believes his new G60-LT-P1, which was unveiled on Thursday, will challenge for the overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship titles.
Tomlinson says the car will likely match the lap times of the hybrid LMP1 cars at Le Mans last year, allowing it to race directly with the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, something non-hybrid LMP1 cars have been unable to achieve in recent seasons.
“The LMP2 cars qualified with 3:25 and ran 3:27s [at Le Mans last year], so they were about nine seconds off the hybrids,” Tomlinson told Sportscar365.
“If you look at the weight difference on our car, the power upgrade, better aero than a P2 and better tires, it’s hard to see how you’re not going to be running very similar lap times to the hybrids.
“LMP1 is just LMP1, and there really is no privateer class. We’re set to race Toyota. They happen to run a hybrid; we don’t, and that’s the difference.
“We will be allowed, as everyone else in P1 is, to challenge Toyota for the overall win.”
Tomlinson sees his car as an affordable option for teams interested in the category, comparing it to the equivalent cost of running LMP2 machinery.
“It’s difficult to get someone to spend £1.34 million ($1.81 million) on a chassis that doesn’t exist,” he said. “Many people have tried it. You just have to have the balls to make it.
“If you put the car out there now and look at it, it looks like an extremely good way for people to come into LMP1.
“If you advertise the cost of the car over three seasons, it’s only two or three-hundred thousand more for the car, per season. The running budget is not dramatically different to P2.
“You can either qualify on pole in LMP2 and be tenth, or go for the outright win. Even if you’re last in P1, which we won’t be, you’ll still be way ahead of P2.
“For teams that want to be out front and challenge for outright wins, this is a really cost-effective way of doing it.”
TRS Manor Racing is so far the only confirmed customer but it was announced last year that another team has purchased three cars with a view to racing two.
Tomlinson said the identity of that team will be revealed “when they put the money down” but also said that there are three other teams “seriously looking at the car.”
“They are teams that we know have the budget and experience to do it,” he explained. “It’s really exciting. It’s at that point when people get their check books out, when they see the quality of the car.
“I’d find it very difficult to write a check to a business that’s never made a P1 car for £1.34 million without seeing the goods, and I think that’s absolutely fair.”
Testing Program to Get Underway Next Week
The G60-LT-P1 will begin testing soon with an initial shakedown planned for next week, Tomlinson also revealed, before it undergoes a more thorough test later in the month.
“The car has run at the factory,” he said. “We’ll take it back to do another systems check at the factory and straight down to a local airfield that my friend owns.
“We’ll run it up and down there and do some systems checks, and so by the end of January, it will be out at a southern European circuit doing a lot of pounding around.
“By then, the second chassis should have followed on.”