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Manor Planning Expansion to LMP1 in 2018

Manor planning dual LMP1 and LMP2 programs in 2018…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Manor has revealed plans of running parallel LMP1 and LMP2 programs in the 2018 World Endurance Championship, according to sporting manager Graeme Lowdon.

The British team moved to the WEC in 2016 after six years in Formula One, achieving a best result of third in the LMP2 class at the Six Hours of Spa and a first pole position at Shanghai.

However, following a confirmed freeze in the LMP1 regulations after Audi’s withdrawal and Ginetta’s announcement that they will build a new LMP1 car for 2018, Lowdon explained that it made business sense for Manor to expand its operations if the right conditions were met.

“I think it’s a natural thing and when we first came into P2, we mentioned that we would be hoping to look at LMP1,” Lowdon told Sportscar365 at the Autosport International Show.

“If you’re looking at it from a business point of view, then there are lots of different avenues that we can take, but LMP1 with the right financial model would be attractive for a LMP2 team.

“There are only so many LMP2 cars you can run, so you can’t grow your business that way.

“We think that WEC is a fantastic championship and for a team like us that have had a lot of experience in managing the design and development and manufacture of race cars, LMP1 represents a natural expansion if you like.”

Lowdon would not be drawn on whether Manor would consider a partnership with Ginetta, as reported by other news outlets, or whether it would return to being a fully-fledged constructor.

However, he confirmed the team’s intentions to retain a presence in LMP2 for the foreseeable future alongside any future LMP1 programme.

“That would be the idea, and I think it makes sense to do that,” he said.

“I think we’ve been looking at a business plan involving P1 for quite some time now, and really the fact that people are aware of it now doesn’t actually change anything.

“At the end of the day, the key thing is what regulations would we race to and what you want is something that fits the financial model and commercial model and has stability.

“There’s a lot of work which still needs to be done in a lot of areas to get the team on the grid, but I think it’s a sensible area for us to look to expand the business.”

James Newbold (@James_Newbold) is a UK-based freelance motorsport journalist. A graduate of Politics and International Relations, James is also the editor of Autosport Performance.


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