Duqueine Engineering will step up into LMP2 competition in the European Le Mans Series next year, despite its parent company’s purchase of prototype constructor Norma. (En Français)
The French squad campaigned Norma M30 Nissans in the LMP3 class this year, highlighted by a runner-up finish at Spa with Antonin Borga, David Droux and Nicolas Schatz.
“The plan is to run an Oreca 07 in the European Le Mans Series,” team principal Yann Belhomme told Endurance-Info.
“We have a privileged relationship with Hugues de Chaunac since GT Tour. I have a lot of respect for the entrepreneur he is. With Hugues and his team, we lived the difficulties of the GT Tour but we have accompanied it to the end. This creates links with the person.”
While drivers have not yet been announced, Belhomme has expressed his desire of having an all-Silver-rated lineup featuring up-and-coming talent.
The team will not submit an entry request for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, instead focusing exclusively on the six-round ELMS schedule, with an eye to make its debut in the French endurance classic in 2019.
Duqueine, Norma Separate Programs
Belhomme said it was always the plan to continue the race team, despite Duqueine Mobility’s purchase of Norma.
The sale has forced the team out of LMP3 competition due to what would be a conflict of interest, with no immediate plans in the pipeline for Norma to become involved in LMP2, as the FIA and ACO have restricted the class to four constructors only.
“Despite the purchase of Norma Automotive, there was no question of stopping the race team,” Bellhomme said. “Next year on the European scene should allow us to take our marks before targeting Le Mans in 2019. “