Riley Technologies has laid out plans of building a next-generation prototype for the new-for-2017 global Prototype regulations.
The North Carolina-based manufacturer, which has claimed 12 overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as well as being the most successful constructor in Daytona Prototype history, is in the planning stages for the design of the new closed-top prototype.
“For our company to be able to have a car that can compete in the biggest races in the world, Daytona, Le Mans and all of the others, it’s definitely appealing,” Riley Technologies Vice President Bill Riley told Sportscar365.
“We always wanted to do a LMP2 car and we had one pretty down the road, design-wise (pictured above), we just didn’t hit the market right with it. For 2017, for our business model, that’s where we need to be, to have a new prototype.”
While the rules for the ACO, FIA and IMSA’s proposed 2017 Prototype platform, set to replace the current DP and P2 regulations, have yet to be defined, Riley is already in talks with several manufacturers and teams about becoming involved in the program.
A total of 45 Riley DP chassis have been sold since the debut of its first-generation Riley MkXI in 2004. Riley has worked with a number of manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Ford and most recently Honda, on engine installations and/or custom bodywork for its chassis.
It’s understood the new-generation prototype could feature manufacturer-specific bodywork, similar to those seen on DPs today. Riley said they would have the capability of creating standard LMP2 bodywork as well as manufacturer-specific kits, which may only be legal for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
A manufacturers meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25 in Paris to begin formal discussions on the new-gen global platform.
“I think it will be a strong product for us,” Riley said. “It’s kind of hard to go too far the road with it now until the rules get fairly settled down. But we’ve been known to react quicker than most. We should be able to start a lot of concept stuff after the meeting [next month].
“Once we figure out what LMP2 looks like, then what Scot [Elkins] wants to do with Prototype here in the U.S., we’ll be able to react to it either way.”
Riley’s plans for an all-new ACO-style prototype comes four years after the announcement of its stillborn MkXXV LMP2 project (pictured above), which failed to launch due to market conditions.
The difference this time around comes with the proposed global usage of the car, including being the only top-level prototype platform in North America.
Riley, however, admitted it would be difficult to initially sell cars in Europe, given the current customer support base on the continent.
He said on-track testing for the 2017 prototype would not have to begin until June of 2016, giving his organization and the rules makers plenty of time to finalize plans and the regulations.
Plans, meanwhile, are progressing on Riley’s proposed LMP3 car, with a formal announcement expected in the coming weeks. Riley said they are working through a few different production options on the cost-capped prototype, which will initially be legal for ELMS and Asian Le Mans Series competition.
“We don’t want to use up a lot of our resources to build the new LMP3 car and a year later have to build a P2/Prototype car,” he said. “We know the prototype is what we really need to do because it will be a higher dollar car with a higher volume potential.
“But the LMP3 is going to be such a cool, little car. It’s hard not to be involved with it.”
Riley said he would like to see LMP3 find a home in North American racing, preferably in a development series such as IMSA Prototype Lites, before being considered for the TUDOR Championship as a replacement to Prototype Challenge in 2017.