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SMP Developing New LMP2 Car for 2015

SMP Racing to develop all-new closed-top prototype for 2015…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

While currently on the grid with a pair of Oreca 03 Nissans, SMP Racing has reaffirmed intentions to build and develop its own LMP2 car for 2015. (En Français)

The Russian-backed operation, currently in the spotlight due to U.S. and European Union sanctions on team principal Boris Rotenberg, has so far remained unaffected, with plans still moving forward.

It includes development of a closed-top LMP2 car, headed by Peugeot 908 designer Paolo Catone, in Italy.

“It’s still on schedule,” SMP Managing Director Benjamin Durand told Endurance-Info. “The objective was always to run two cars in 2015 and our ambitions are clear: to win Le Mans in three years.

“For us, the best preparation remains in the FIA WEC where we will field two LMP2s in 2015.”

While SMP Racing currently fields cars in the FIA WEC and European Le Mans Series, the entity would expand to also become a constructor, joining the likes of ORECA, Onroak Automotive and HPD with new prototype offerings for next year.

“It’s clear that entities are distinct,” Durand said. “Although SMP Racing is not here to make a real business in motorsports, we are able to sell cars.

“As I said, the goal is to win Le Mans. For now, we remain discreet. Paolo Catone is the head of LMP2 project. There is a desire to present the project in a comprehensive manner with all our partners. ”

Despite its new focus in prototype racing, Durand said they will not abandon their GT programs. SMP currently fields no fewer than four Ferrari 458 Italias in the ELMS and will also have a GTE car in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In regards to the ongoing political issues surrounding the organization, Durand remains optimistic over the team’s future.

“SMP Racing is a collateral victim of the events that have nothing to do with sport,” Durand said. “Our commitments for the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been paid. Boris Rotenberg has no involvement in politics.

“This can slow us down but it’s been an added incentive to do well. To date, there’s no need to fear. We can only thank our partners at the FIA and ACO for their support.”

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

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