Algarve Pro Racing has revealed ambitions of stepping up to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018, with an increased focus on the continental Le Mans championships in Europe and Asia planned for the next year. (En Français)
The Portuguese-based squad, which has expanded into a two-car Ligier JS P2 effort for the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series season, is also in the process of finalizing its 2017 LMP2 chassis choice for Europe, with a decision set to be made by December.
According to the team’s primary investor Michael Munemann, options from Onroak Automotive, ORECA and Dallara are being evaluated.
“Onroak is the choice of the heart,” Munemann told Endurance-Info. “I appreciate Jacques [Nicolet] and all their customer support is very competent.
“ORECA has made very good car and I don’t doubt for a second the potential of the 07. As for Dallara, they shone wherever they’ve gone.”
A single-car ELMS entry is planned for 2017, in the build up to taking Munemann and two professionals to the WEC the following year.
“We’re expecting to return to the ELMS with a [lineup] that can play for the win,” he said. “Personally, I will focus on Le Mans and the Asian Le Mans Series. On a professional level, it suits me perfectly.”
Munemann, who made his Le Mans debut in 2014 with Greaves Motorsport, has teamed up with Nicky Catsburg and Andrea Pizzitola in Algarve’s Nissan-powered Ligier this season in Asia, alongside the sister Judd-powered entry that saw Tacksung Kim, Andrea Roda and Matt McMurry at the wheel in last weekend’s Four Hours of Zhuhai.
“Driving with Nick and Andrea really positive for me because of their professionalism,” Munemann said. “They are part of the family.
“I hope that we will win the championship. We know it will not be easy because the competition is tough. Having a closed car is a handicap for the driver change.
“However, we will make every effort to secure an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017. This year, we were only [an alternative] and we lost a bit of time to prepare.”
Munemann, Pizzitola and British Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy finished 12th in class in the team’s Le Mans debut this year.