The new joint LMP2 project between Riley Technologies and Multimatic continues to gain momentum, with the conceptual design of the new-for-2017 prototype already underway.
North Carolina-based Riley is spearheading the design of the Riley Mk. XXX, which will be one of four approved LMP2 chassis competing in ACO and IMSA-run championships worldwide beginning in 2017.
“With the way the cars are so aero-dependent, you have to look at the aero, design some of the mechanicals to make sure you can package it in and go back and forth,” Bill Riley told Sportscar365.
“Bob [Riley] is doing that right now, primarily with the front suspension, tub and foot-box, to design that part of it first because that drives the [design] of the rest of the car.”
Riley confirmed the car is a clean sheet design, with no elements carried over from its previous LMP2 concept in 2011, which had failed to reach the production stage.
This time around, Riley has joined forces with Canadian-based Multimatic, with both companies playing key roles in the LMP2 project.
In addition to the design, Riley will be tasked with the car’s assembly, the manufacturing of suspension components and North America trackside support.
Multimatic, meanwhile, will handle all carbon and composite work, including the manufacture of the tub, composite engineering, as well as customer and trackside support in Europe.
“It’s not necessarily what we do best, or what they do best, it’s what we like to do,” Riley said. “We’re doing what we like to do and they’re doing what they like to do and that was the perfect fit.”
Riley said his relationship with Multimatic dates back a number of years, having enjoyed successful partnerships on a number of other previous projects.
“Maybe four years ago, myself and Bob had a dinner with Larry Holt and Stephen Charsley,” he said. “We talked about the future and what we could do together and how we could help each other.
“When we got the Viper program, Multimatic did some things for us. It was a good relationship and a good way to step in, both on their products and with their engineering services.
“When the P2 tender came along, Stephen, who lives in Mooresville [N.C.], started talking about putting in a tender and we did as well, both being North American manufacturers.
“We then decided, ‘What about we put one in jointly?'”
Riley-Multimatic won the bid as the designated North American constructor in July, and since then, it’s been full throttle ahead on planning towards the car’s 2017 debut.
“We’re talking to a lot of customers and OEMs right now,” Riley said. “We’re trying to be pretty aggressive on getting a good partnership over here.
“For us to have the proper spares support, you have to have a large market share, so that’s what we’re working towards.”
Riley said he expects the majority of the car’s initial customer base to be in North America, although he’s stressed the importance of it competing globally.
“I’d say at first most of our sales will be [in North America] just because I don’t think a lot of the European teams are familiar with us and they may already have their favorites,” he said.
“I think we’re concentrating a bit more on the U.S. side, but obviously any European that talks to us, we’re taking that pretty seriously because we want to make sure we have a strong presence over there.”
While Multimatic will be heading up customer support in Europe, through its already deep networks established in the FIA WEC and ELMS, Riley will be using the utilizing the same business model in North America that resulted in the sale of nearly 50 of its DP chassis.
“We have a lot of strong history on customer support and service,” Riley said. “Mike Croake will be heading up that part of the business again.
“The DP car, for example, was a great car on the track, but it also outshined a lot of people in the parts and service. So we’re planning on doing that same model.”
The group is already in discussions with OEMs, including Mazda, which both Riley and Multimatic have had ties with, on possible alliances in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which will embrace multiple engines and manufacturer-specific bodywork.
Riley said they’re open to working with multiple manufacturers and have the capability of delivering a complete race car, or specific components such as bodywork, for IMSA competition.
“There’s some OEMs we deal with, there’s some OEMs Multmatic deals with. We’re using all of our contacts to do that,” he said
While Riley has ruled out seeing the Mk. XXX, named in honor of the company’s 30th car design, to be ready any earlier than the 2017 season, he’s optimistic on the future of the new LMP2 platform.
“It’s very strong right now and everybody seems to be pulling in the right direction,” he said.