Manor will continue its LMP2 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year despite its newly announced LMP1 campaign with Ginetta, according to team principal John Booth.
The British squad confirmed Wednesday plans to field a Ginetta LMP1 car in the WEC’s 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ with a to-be-determined engine and driver lineup, joining the ever-increasing number of privateers committing to the newly structured class.
Despite its step up to the WEC’s premier class, Booth said plans are in place to also remain in LMP2 with at least one Oreca 07 Gibson next season.
“We intend to carry on with LMP2,” Booth told Sportscar365. “We’ve got the cars, the equipment and the people. [Only] some of the people will go onto the LMP1 project.”
The potential also exists for a parallel European Le Mans Series program next year.
“That’s a very successful series and it would be nice to get involved in that,” he said. “With it being only five races in WEC next year, the opportunity is there I think.”
Booth confirmed the team has purchased only a single Ginetta LMP1 car at the moment and indicated a higher likelihood of fielding two LMP2 entries next season rather than a second LMP1 car.
Despite Mecachrome having been announced as the launch partner with Ginetta, Booth said they’ve yet to finalize the powerplant for its car.
It’s believed a deal could be reached with a Chinese automaker for potential engine branding through the team’s increased partnership with China-based sports agency TRS.
LMP1 Testing Set to Begin in December
Booth said he expects on-track testing to get underway in mid-December, with the team working directly with the British constructor on the car’s development.
“It would give us a start and then look to ramp up in February to get serious testing done,” he said.
“[Ginetta] has hired some very good people for their project. We’ve been liaising closely with them throughout the process.
“What’s not 100 percent clear is the testing regulations. That’s going to influence the decision on the development program for sure.”
Confirmation of Manor’s LMP1 entry brings the total privateer car count in the class up to five, alongside the two Dallara-built BR1 prototypes from SMP Racing, DragonSpeed’s newly announced program and the likely return of ByKolles.
The half-dozen non-hybrid prototypes are likely to be joined by Toyota, which is now expected to continue its factory LMP1 program.
“If we’ve got five or six [privateers] out there, that would be a good start,” Booth told Sportscar365.
“I think it will go from strength to strength as people see the possibility of competing for overall victories. I think the entries will escalate.”
“We’re not going to compete with Toyota in a straight fight. It will depend on how WEC configure the [EoT].
“But let’s face it, a P2 car almost won Le Mans [overall] this year. At least it gives you a chance.”