The ACO has revealed that multiple Garage 56 projects are under evaluation for 2018, although now subject to a more strict approval process to ensure a competitive program and future LMP1 involvement for OEMs, according to Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.
Beaumesnil confirmed to Sportscar365 they’ve received multiple proposals, but are now taking a more thorough look at each candidate.
“We require much more guarantees,” he told Sportscar365. “We had some cars in the past not lasting very long in the race. This is something we definitely want to secure now.”
This year’s entry, for quad-amputee Fred Sausset, was the first Garage 56 car to finish the race, with both the Nissan-backed DeltaWing and ZEOD RC (pictured above) having demonstrated new technology, but not delivering on reliability.
According to a report by German publication Sport Auto, two major Asian car manufacturers have lodged Garage 56 requests, with one of them rumored to be Acura with a hybrid version of its NSX GT3 car.
While all three previous entries have been prototype-based, Beaumesnil said they will welcome production cars, should they meet the ACO’s criteria.
“The principle of Garage 56 is that there’s no rules,” he said. “You can come with a project, and we will tell them if it has some interest and if it’s possible to insert it at Le Mans because it has to be compatible with the race.
“A production car… why not? but it depends what. The idea of Garage 56 should not be a way for an OEM to do some promotions. We want promotion of technology.”
Beaumesnil said one of the conditions for an OEM to lodge a Garage 56 entry would be a future LMP1 effort, as in the case of the ZEOD RC in 2014, which served as the precursor to the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO the following year.
With two Asian automakers reportedly evaluating Garage 56 efforts, it could hint towards possible new LMP1 involvement for 2019 or beyond.
“If an OEM wants to come to Le Mans and do a nice entry, go to P1 or GTE. This is fine,” Beaumesnil said.
“But Garage 56 is not this, unless you are preparing a LMP1 program with technology you want to test. This is really the principle.”
WR, with its biogas-powered prototype, has been selected for Garage 56 next year, although it’s understood the French outfit has run into budget issues.