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Dallara-Built BR1 a “Completely New” Car

Dallara-built BR1 an all-new car according to BR Engineering boss Boris Rotenberg…

Photo: SMP Racing

Despite taking knowledge from its LMP2 counterpart, the Dallara-built BR1 is a “completely new” car according to BR Engineering President Boris Rotenberg.

The Russian LMP1 non-hybrid car was unveiled last weekend in Bahrain, which will see two AER-powered entries fielded by SMP Racing and a Gibson-engined BR1 from DragonSpeed in the FIA World Endurance Championship next season.

When compared to Dallara’s P217, Rotenberg said there’s virtually no carryover, with the BR1 even having a completely different tub design that’s optimized for LMP1 non-hybrid technical regulations.

“I was thinking about it today. I was trying to find the same detail. So far I’ve found the steering wheel… Honestly, it’s completely new,” Rotenberg told Sportscar365.

While involving Russian university students, the design and development of the car has largely been undertaken by Dallara, marking its first bespoke top-level prototype in more than 15 years.

However, according to chief designer Luca Pignacca, the knowledge base gained from its new-for-2017 LMP2 car has helped create an even stronger package for LMP1.

“The experience we made with the LMP2 car was extremely important to design the LMP1 car,” Pignacca told Sportscar365.

“But when you have to design a car that must be 100kg lighter than the LMP2, you have to start from a white sheet of paper. Every single part must be bespoke and different.

“For engineers, the LMP1 regulations are really a piece of cake because we have much more freedom than LMP2 in order to fix the mistakes and do some development, finally, at reasonable costs.”

Positive First Test Despite Accident

Pignacca said it’s been a “very good start” to the BR1’s testing program, with the car having completed 1,000 kilometers in a two-day test at Motorland Aragon last week.

It came following an initial rollout at Varano, which was more or less a systems check.

“The drivers were very happy, our engineers were very happy,” Pignacca said.

“The aero figures we collected were correlating very well with what had with CFD. The engine ran without any problem at all. The temperatures were really good.

“Every single modification to the car’s setup was felt by the drivers. So it’s been a very good start.”

SMP Racing Sporting Director Mika Salo, however, confirmed the test ended early due to an accident from Mikhail Aleshin, which the Finn said was triggered by a parts failure.

Aleshin sustained an injury to his arm from the crash and was present at the car’s launch last week wearing a sling.

Acknowledging the accident, Dallara’s Pignacca indicated that it’s often a normal part of a car’s early development cycle.

“You go testing whether to see if something if fails or not,” he said.

“Normally you have two different approaches. Either you start very conservative and then you try to take some weight off the car, or you do the other way around.

“I think the most efficient, and the winning one, is that you start light and see if something breaks.”

Additional Customers Possible for 2018/19

Rotenberg said additional customers for the WEC’s ‘Super Season’ is possible beyond the already confirmed DragonSpeed entry. 

The American-flagged team will utilize an upstaged version of Gibson’s LMP2 engine, with the car also able to be fitted with the 3.4-liter twin-turbo Mecachrome powerplant that will be used in Ginetta’s new-for-2018 LMP1 car.

It’s understood at least one existing WEC LMP2 team is evaluating the purchase of a BR1, which could make it the most-represented LMP1 car on the grid next season.

“Something we’re good at is making a lot of cars,” Pignacca said. “Realistically if we have to make 2 or 3 cars more, it’s not going to be a problem.

“BR Engineering would be very happy about this.”

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 Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Tyler Sanders

    November 23, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Interesting quote from the article

    “For engineers, the LMP1 regulations are really a piece of cake because we have much more freedom than LMP2 in order to fix the mistakes and do some development, finally, at reasonable costs.”

    So it looks like nobody can content with the Oreca Armada in LMP2

    • Steven

      November 23, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Oreca will be in LMP1 possibly next year or in 2019. LMP1 has the ability to develop the car every year, but with the rule of only one downforce package, its a more reasonable cost vs. making 3. LMP2 gets one joker update for 4 years.

      The ACO needs to admit it screwed it the LMP2 regulations and fix it, and the Oreca has the advantage of also having top drivers and top teams. How many ex-F1 and ex-LMP1 factory drivers are in the Ligier and Dallara’s in IMSA and ELMS?

      • Tyler Sanders

        November 23, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        I completely agree the ACO completely messed up with the LMP2 rules the joker updates very 4 years is really stupid. They literally made no reason for top teams to try liger and Dallara how the current rules are.

        • TF110

          November 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm

          That doesn’t make sense. Ligier and Dallara are going to have their joker upgrades next year. Meanwhile, Oreca has to run as is. So if anything, I think the newer car that’s just been upgraded to meet the best is the way to go.

          • Steven

            November 24, 2017 at 1:32 pm

            The Ligier is actually a fairly balanced car. It doesn’t have the quickest lap times like the Oreca can run, but its less abusive on its tires which is one of the big reasons why United Autosports was able to get a few wins in the ELMS.

            The Dallara was built more on a low-downforce configuration and is quick in a straight line but looked very unstable under braking all the time.

            The Ligier should be right on par with the Oreca next year but would a top WEC team go for it? Pla and Albuquerque showed the car has promise.

    • David Chaste

      November 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      The P2 cars are made to purchase at a specific (low) cost. But with P1 cars they can sell them for what the car costs them depending on the customer’s demands.

      But it’s not the ACO or Oreca’s fault they have the best P2 chassis. Dallara has more resources than Oreca, that’s why they were selected ahead of others like Gibson/Zytek, BR, and Dome. But Oreca simply has more experience building P2 chassis for Lemans and just did a better job against an inexperienced giant.

      • Tyler Sanders

        November 23, 2017 at 2:28 pm

        I see. I think there is a possibility of this being the best LMP1 privateer car. The last time Dallara built a top level spec prototype was the Dallara LMP which was a excellent car.

  2. Michael Sørensen

    November 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    You should really read what Roger Dean (admittedly closely linked to Ligier) had to say on another well known endurance website had to say about Oreca’s P2 car

    • SaskRacer

      November 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

      I read that article. He played both sides of the fence. Dean claimed that Oreca had an advantage in LMP2 by having most of their new car running in 05 guise prior to 2017, and then claimed that Norma had an advantage in LMP3 by coming in later than Ligier. As one would expect, Dean took the positions that best suited Ligier, despite his two positions being somewhat at odds with each other. How much truth there were to his theories would be highly debated amongst the other manufacturers in either class, I am sure.

      • Antonio Desmond Miles

        November 24, 2017 at 7:24 pm

        I would like to see that article. The ORECA LMP2’s have been hugely dominant before the joker updates were applied to the Ligier, Dallara & Riley LMP2’s. I would like to see more Riley’s running but they have been out of the game for too long. Post the link for that Roger Dean article.

    • kevlow

      November 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Can you elaborate on this? It sounds informative but I could not find this with so little to go on.
      Thank you.

  3. Mamozrenesis

    November 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    My suggestion for 2018-19 Smp’s 100% Russian driver lineup:
    Car #1: Petrov-Aleshin-Kvyat
    Car #2: Sirotkin-Orudzhev-Isakyaan

    Car #1 is fast but explosive!
    Car #2 looks much more solid!

  4. daedalus

    November 23, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Well, if looks could win races this would fit the bill, reminds me of the Epsilon Euskadi LMP1 car. Hopefully it will not be too draggy at le mans and they can reduce the fuel flow to stay in contention with the Toyotas.

  5. John Cray

    November 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Whilst the P2 debate [Oreca vs Dallara, Ligier/Mr Dean & Riley] will doubtless continue with the FIA, the real story is LMP1. Greater P1 regulatory freedom, lesser weight and only market force cost control should, theoretically support better chassis design and build. The fun part comes when the new cars begin to test in earnest; when we get to see how many more than 7 or 8 materialise, and when we get to see them at Spa in May’18. Can’t wait: roll on 10 LMP1s, Spa, Le Mans et al – when we also get to see how the engine manufacturers have managed to achieve the fuel efficiency that’ll be required to challenge a reliable Toyota. Roll on.

  6. Slicks in the wet

    November 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Why do people choose AER still???

  7. Haskell

    November 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Anyone else think it looks like a Cadillac Dpi which in turn bears a not unsubtle resemblance to a Porsche 919

    • Larry

      November 27, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Well, the Caddy is a Dallara so the family resemblance is there.

      Comparing it to P1 Hybrids, I don’t think resembles either very much but looks more like the Toyota than the Porsche.

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