Perrinn has abandoned plans to build a LMP1 non-hybrid car for the FIA World Endurance Championship, instead shifting focus to an all-electric semi-autonomous prototype as a potential future Garage 56 entry at Le Mans. (En Français)
The UK-based constructor, which announced in May that it sold two cars for the 2018 WEC season, has put a halt on the program after not receiving payments from its contracted customer, according to Nicolas Perrin.
It’s understood the deal, spearheaded by Frank van Nunen, was to see alleged backing from the Renault-owned Dacia brand and low-cost airline Wizz Air, both of which did not materialize by Perrin’s deadline.
“It’s hard to accept but we’re going to move on,” Perrin told Endurance-Info. “I do not have all the information.
“What I know is that we signed a contract in May for two cars. The first transfer order came in June but the money was not paid.
“The project had already started with several people working full time. I think there are still chances that the client will be present in 2018 but not with Perrinn.”
Perrin has instead moved his attention to a new electric prototype project, with the aim of being on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019, as the Garage 56 entrant.
The “Project 424” concept entails an all-electric prototype, based on its LMP1 design, that would also include an autonomous driving mode.
“I spent two years working on the successful Nio EP9 program,” Perrin said. “The electric car has broken records everywhere despite its weight of nearly two tons.
“I want to bring this technology to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a LMP1 [based car].
“We will make a more detailed presentation of the project in a few days. We want to rebound and reposition Perrinn for the future.”
Perrin said he’s begun discussions with the FIA and ACO on the project, which would see a driver always in the car but only taking over controls in specific instances, such as navigating through traffic.
“The car is never alone on the track,” he said. “It records first what a driver did by reusing his [data].
“You cannot send a car on track and run it in stand-alone mode. Garage 56 shows the vision of the future. Finding partners for this type of project is easier.”
Perrin said the goal will be to have the car in autonomous mode at the speed of a GT car at Le Mans.