ORECA is open to building a LMP1 car to non-hybrid specifications, although is taking a wait-and-see approach on the future of the top prototype class in the FIA World Endurance Championship, according to technical director David Floury.
The French constructor, which was last represented in the class with the Rebellion R-One that it designed and built, has received inquiries from multiple teams for potential new projects, but is not yet ready to push the green light, largely due to questions surrounding the category.
“For sure there is some interest, but there is also some uncertainty about the future so nothing is signed or materialized,” Floury told Sportscar365.
“It’s more [of a] discussion and people looking around to see what they can do.
“At the moment, there is for sure many unknowns for the future of LMP1 in general, so we need a bit of time to see how it will evolve in the future.”
While LMP1 projects from Ginetta, Dallara-BR Engineering and Perrin all are underway, speculation has continued to mount that IMSA’s DPi platform could soon be integrated into the category, especially if the hybrid class collapses in the wake of Porsche’s potential exit at the end of the year.
Floury, however, admitted it wouldn’t be as simple in just taking a current DPi car into LMP1, should DPis become fully eligible.
“I think as it is at the moment, if you want to optimize, you’d better start with a clean sheet,” he said. “But it depends on the regulations and how they evolve in the future.
“It would make sense to waiver the regulations so that you can have a bridge between the categories to reduce the cost.
“But at the moment as the regulations are written, clearly the best approach is to start from scratch again.”
Both Jota Sport and Rebellion Racing have been among the teams that have been exploring potential LMP1 non-hybrid efforts, with Rebellion’s Bart Hayden “skeptical” on the category’s strength for next year but optimistic about its potential for 2019 and beyond.
Jota team boss Sam Hignett, meanwhile, has said that the new generation of LMP1 non-hybrids would need to be a “chunk quicker” than the current LMP2 cars in order to justify the investment in making the move up to the top class.
Hignett suggests the performance and budget levels currently seen in the spec-engined class could make it difficult for teams to move to LMP1.
“ORECA, Gibson and the ACO have done such a fantastic job [with LMP2]. It’s super quick. It’s not cheap but it’s a reasonable budget,” he told Sportscar365.
“There’s a lot of unanswered questions around LMP1 [non-hybrid] but it’s very interesting to keep an eye on it and see what happens.”