Ginetta is pushing to be included as a constructor for the next set of LMP2 and LMDh regulations despite not being announced as one of the four initial selected manufacturers.
The LMP1 constructor’s chairman Lawrence Tomlinson told Sportscar365 that he felt Ginetta should have been included in a tender process to decide which companies made the cut.
Dallara, Ligier Automotive, ORECA and Multimatic have been carried over as constructors for the new LMP2 regulations, which will be rolled out as LMDh in the 2021-22 FIA World Endurance Championship season and as LMP2 in beginning in 2022-23.
It’s understood that no tender procedure was held before the four companies were confirmed during the LMDh formation announcement at Daytona in January.
“If it needs to be four, it should be an open tender process,” Tomlinson told Sportscar365.
“We may win or we may lose, but that should take place. Alternatively, it should be like in LMP3 where there are five [constructors]. What’s the difference between four or five?
“It’s not like there’s no room on the grids at the top level.
“As a solid partner of the ACO, we would very much like to be included in the process and I don’t see why we can’t be. If there was a reason for us not to be, I wouldn’t be asking them.”
Tomlinson said that he was “shocked” to learn that there wouldn’t be a tender process to decide which constructors would provide next-gen LMP2 and LMDh cars.
Ginetta’s tender to become a LMP2 constructor for the current regulations, which will remain in effect in the WEC until the 2022 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was rejected.
It instead embarked on a WEC LMP1 program with its own G60-LT-P1 prototype, in addition to its LMP3 customer program.
“We were absolutely shocked not to be included in LMDh/LMP2 negotiations because we had always been told we would be, even down to during this [WEC] season,” said Tomlinson.
“The tender process was due to take place about three or four months ago, originally.
“Someone came to me at a WEC meeting and said that they were going to extend the [LMP2 regulations] for another year, so therefore we’ll be included in the next process in a year’s time.
“So I’m sat back thinking that I’ll be getting a form through soon and the tender process will take place, but then I just see an announcement, which I must say was just bizarre to me.
“We’ve been overlooked, but hopefully they’re aware that we’d like to be included and maybe they can help us with that.
“We’re a well-proven partner so it’s not like we should not be out there and excluded from the process that we were told we would be included in. Hopefully, they realize that we can be included and that it makes sense.”
Tomlinson added that LMP2 presents the best financial opportunity for a prototype constructor than any of the other available categories in sports car racing.
“If Hypercar could run in the IMSA events then I’d probably think Hypercar is more for us,” he explained.
“But LMP2 has been a strong part of our business case. No-one makes any money out of LMP3 because the cars are basically sold at cost.
“We really needed an LMP2 to make the business case appealing to Ginetta, especially considering the millions of pounds we’ve spent on developing the LMP2 chassis and then the LMP1 program.”
Plans for Third Le Mans Entry Abandoned
Tomlinson also confirmed that Ginetta decided not to apply for a third LMP1 entry into this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The manufacturer has its two full-time WEC cars on the six-car LMP1 grid for the season finale in June, but there were previous suggestions that an extra entry could be added.
“I think it would have been too much for us, bringing the cars back, missing COTA and then having them back at the factory,” said Tomlinson.
“We’ve got a third chassis sat at work, which would have been available. If a team had come to us begging to put an entry in, we probably would have done that.
“But we didn’t go out actively chasing it and I think the two is enough for us at the moment.”
Ginetta plans to keep its LMP1 cars running through the first season of the Le Mans Hypercar class in 2020-21 as grandfathered machinery, which would prevent this year’s Le Mans from being the G60’s final race.