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Beaumesnil: Additional LMP1 Privateer Interest for 2018

ACO expecting further growth in LMP1 Privateer in 2018…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil is optimistic of seeing additional teams join the LMP1 Privateer ranks by as early as 2018, in the wake of SMP Racing’s commitment to the non-hybrid subclass.

The Russian squad announced last week that it will run an all-new LMP1 car jointly built by Dallara and BR Engineering, marking the first new commitment in the class since Lotus/ByKolles in 2014.

Beaumesnil said there are multiple other teams and constructors currently in discussions.

“[Whether it’s] for 2018 or 2019 we will see because sometimes people are optimistic in their schedules,” he told Sportscar365. “But the [arrival] of Dallara is very good.

“I think people now understand where we’re going and the opportunity we give for them to be very close with the [factory] cars.

“Considering the potential budget is not ten times bigger than LMP2… the target is to be less than twice the price of LMP2. For that, you can be in the fight for the podium with the big stars. So I think there’s a real incentive for that.”

Beaumesnil said that while the SMP Racing project was in the pipeline before Audi’s withdrawal, he sees the current reduced LMP1 Hybrid grid as an opportunity for additional privateers to join the top ranks.

The class, however, will see a depleted hybrid and non-hybrid grid next year, with Rebellion Racing parking its AER-powered R-Ones in favor of its new LMP2 program with Oreca 07s.

It will leave ByKolles Racing as the only expected entrant in LMP1 Privateer entrant in 2017.

“We want these cars back for sure. It’s important for us,” Beaumesnil said. “We met some people who are really committed to starting the project. But all these people are keeping confidential.”

The FIA and ACO, meanwhile, continue to work to finalize the category’s future regulations, including the potential introduction of DRS for 2018.

What is expected to change from the original proposal, however, is the introduction of new monocoque rules, which will likely get pushed back to 2021 or 2022 due to the freezing of the LMP1 hybrid regulations.

“We will not introduce a new monocoque for Privateer before the factories,” Beaumesnil said. “It makes sense but this has not yet been officially decided so we have to work it out.

“But it would make sense to postpone using the new monocoque two more years as well.”

In terms of performance, Beaumesnil still feels future LMP1 non-hybrids will be able to outperform new LMP2 machinery, which receives a significant power boost for next year.

“We are now defining the performance window we want to have the LMP1 Privateers,” he said. “Then it’s up to them to work to maybe be better. But we have to define a window.

“The car is much more competitive than LMP2 for sure.”

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

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Dont do it

    November 24, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Well this should save LMP1

  2. M

    November 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

    “Considering the potential budget is not ten times bigger than LMP2… the target is to be less than twice the price of LMP2. For that, you can be in the fight for the podium with the big stars. So I think there’s a real incentive for that.”

    No. As long as there are hybrid factory cars, nobody will compete against them. The season someone comes in with a customer chassis and beats a factory team will be the end of all involvement with hybrids. Companies don’t spend hundreds of millions to lose to someone running on 1/10th their budget in cars they didn’t have to design and manufacture themselves. This is the same issue faced by F1, you can’t let low budget teams compete without the threat of alienating your moneymakers. A hard position to navigate, to be sure.

    • GR88

      November 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Since the 962 era, which is getting on for 30yrs, privateers have never been on the pace of factories when said factories are operating at full potential.

      What can, and should, happen are privateer cars within 2 seconds of factories, on outright pace. Then, should a factory hit issues, podiums and wins are a realistic prospect.

      Right now a top level privateer effort from a Joest, Manor, SMP calibre team has a great chance of scoring regular podiums.

      • M

        November 25, 2016 at 4:15 am

        Right now, absolutely, but only because there are only 4 faster cars which have become less reliable than they once were. I agree, there should be a way to allow privateers to be within 1-2 seconds of the hybrids, be it active drag reduction or whatever other fancy ideas the ACO come up with. If they want to put them in the same class, they should ensure relative parity so they can actually race each other.

    • Kurt

      November 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      My thoughts exactly, M.

      Just make LMP2 and DPs THE LMP class and be done with cars made of unobtainium. Then you will have a healthy entry with lots of competition😁🏁

  3. Larry Watson

    November 24, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I remember a number of years ago, that just like the idea in F1, why not have the factory teams supply cars to the privateer teams to run. even a year old model would help make the races more interesting.

    • Larry

      November 24, 2016 at 11:21 am

      A year old 919 or R18 would still as expensive to run so year old hybrids are gonna have few to no buyers.

      • GR88

        November 24, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        These days you wouldn’t be purchasing a car, rather hiring it, and the engineers to run it. It’s possible if reg stability kicks in and constructors move away from building all new cars every season.

        That seems to be what everyone wants at least.

  4. Steven

    November 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Hybrid technology is great but its just too costly, even for factory efforts.

    Bring the costs down to a level that could give factory teams to lease cars to privateers. Much like the old Audi R8’s, R10, and Peugeot 908.

    Ligier and Oreca I’m sure could easily produce a LMP1 if there were privateers willing to shell up the money to race.

    • TF110

      November 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Costly? You can get a hybrid car in the $20k range on the street. Hybrids aren’t expensive. The expensive part is finding a good battery that is able to compete with the Toyota and Porsche ones. Private teams don’t need to have that to compete. That’s how it should be at least. They need a well developed car with good aero, light weight and more fuel.

    • GTurner38

      November 25, 2016 at 12:37 am

      It’s only as expensive as the manufacturers are willing to spend. Toyota manages to do it for half the cost of the Audi program.

  5. NorthSask

    November 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I’m curious as to why the ACO and even F1 abandoned the relatively simple KERS systems that were used in F1 and by a few LMP1 teams a few years ago. It seems like such a solution would help the LMP1-P cars where they struggle vs the factories. Is the technology free? No. But, it was a major step from the basically add on KERS to the current LMP1-H regs. I felt at the time that it would be too big a step to fast and while the cars that are out there are amazing, there simply aren’t as many as there should be…

    • GTurner38

      November 25, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Because the old F1 KERS system was token hybrid technology. It didn’t add much power and didn’t really integrate the electric system with the internal combustion engine. If you want to develop hybrid technology, you have to do more than KERS.

  6. Kyle

    November 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  7. Jaymondo

    November 26, 2016 at 4:56 am

    I believe the ACO have plans to remove the engine capacity limit in the LMP1 L class, allowing teams to run the Judd V10 and engines like that again. They will still have to run the current type cars, but at least will give new options to the AER V6 which seems to be the only choice at present.

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