The LMP1 field is set to welcome a new manufacturer in 2018, with Ginetta announcing on Wednesday that it will join the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship beginning next year.
The British manufacturer will build ten chassis with the aim of supporting three two-car customer teams, although won’t field a factory team itself.
As the founding manufacturer of the LMP3 class in 2015 along with the release of the new-for-2016 G57, Ginetta has started to make a name for itself in prototype racing in recent years.
This is despite the team’s unsuccessful bid to be an LMP2 constructor this year.
Ginetta has brought on several new team members to help with the LMP1 effort, including Adrian Reynard in the aerodynamics department, alongside a yet-to-be-revealed Head of Aerodynamics with previous LMP1 Hybrid experience.
In addition, Paolo Catone, whose previous experience includes designing the Peugeot 908, and most recently the BR Engineering BR01, has also been brought on board.
“I’m hugely thankful to the ACO for the opportunity to run at the front and challenge for overall podiums,” said Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson. “The Ginetta design team’s ability has already been proven by the class dominating Ginetta LMP3 and G57.
“With Adrian and Paolo on board, the performance of the Ginetta LMP1 is going to be amazing. We are now offering a genuine ladder for our customers all the way from first race to Le Mans which is incredibly exciting for me.”
Added ACO President Pierre Fillon: “Ginetta has proven its expertise in creating successful high performance chassis in G57 and Ginetta LMP3 categories and entering LMP1, the top tier category of endurance racing, appears now to be an obvious move for Ginetta as it moves forward.
“The valued expertise of Ginetta’s partners for this program is also very promising for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship.”
The British constructor is in “advanced talks” with engine supplier Mecachrome and gearbox manufacturer Xtrac for the car’s drivetrain.
A number of Ginetta’s existing LMP3 customers, meanwhile, have already expressed interest in becoming potential LMP1 customers, including PRT Racing and ARC Bratislava.
“After competing for many years in worldwide GT racing, Ginetta gave me the opportunity to move into prototypes with their LMP3,” said ARC Bratislava team owner Miro Konopka.
“We are incredibly excited about this new chassis which will allow me to expand my motorsport platforms to include the WEC and every team and driver’s ambition, to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Ginetta joins the previously announced LMP1 non-hybrid project from Dallara and BR Engineering, which will also be on the grid in 2018, although only a single LMP1 Privateer entry is expected this year, from ByKolles Racing.
Testing of Ginetta’s LMP1 chassis is planned to get underway following this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.