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Perrinn LMP1 Project Falls Through, Shifts Focus to Garage 56 Entry

Perrinn LMP1 non-hybrid project falls through, focus on Garage 56…

Image: Perrinn

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.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Wow, so Dacia and Wizz Air have no cash

    August 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

    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].

    Where exactly do the ACO/FIA and Perrin think this car will be running? How long would autonomous mode run at GTE speeds around LM without running in traffic? I’m guessing it would be measured in meters at best. Seems like another because we can idea, what purpose does it serve in racing? I’d rather see the Garage 56 car operate like the Panoz prototype and turn a few laps at greater speed on batteries, then see how fast they can swap. Although I’d limit the number of batteries to push charging tech as well.

    • Helmut

      August 23, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Just let him “discuss”. 😉 For 2019, I’m planning to enter a bicycle mounted on a nuclear propulsion hovercraft for Garage 56. On the inlap, it is going to go like hell sailing backward, on the flying lap even faster, and on the outlap it is going to perform Double McTwists the whole lap. Discussions are underway. 😉

    • krzysiek_aleks

      August 24, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Everything is explained by Perrin. Outlap on GTE pace, fast lap on LMP1 pace, inlap on GTE pace, but autonomous. 15 minutes of driving and then 45 minutes of charging.

  2. Tobin Smith

    August 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

    This guy wasn’t wearing a Hawaiian shirt was he?

  3. KW

    August 23, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Perrin, van Nunen, Dacia, Wizz Air – that would have been a good story for the 1st of April. If the Ginetta approach is also such a cloud-number-nine-project, we will not see a private LMP1 class in 2018.

  4. Luna

    August 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Lmp1 is falling apart. Total failure of ACO and FIA.

    • korda

      August 24, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Yeah, because they are the ones responsible for the Dieselgate.

      And those Ginetta and Dallara cars say otherwise.

      • the ghost of buckshot jones

        August 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

        What Ginetta and Dallara cars? It’s practically September, and they’re no more real than the Perrin project.

        • TF110

          August 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm

          Try reading other sites besides SC365 and the biased “DPi is the future” drivel every other story. Go look on Ginetta’s twitter where they said YESTERDAY that their car is back in the Williams windtunnel. And look at Mikhail Aleshin’s twitter where is giving up his Indycar seat for the last 3 races to test the SMP Dallara lmp1. It’s like users here are in a bubble that can’t see past Dagys’s articles.

  5. Cactus Tony

    August 23, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    What’s Romanian for “Solaroli”?

  6. KW

    August 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    By the way: did anyone try to do an internet research about Perrinn? It seems that the whole company exists only virtually – no workshop, no home location; they are playing with the crowd-funding money of their “dream” projects. Guess why the company can exist without fielding any car in any championship?

  7. Flat Tire

    August 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    A successful Garage 56 entry of an autonomous vehicle would represent a significant boost in the credibility of autonomous vehicle technology. This is exactly the beauty of the Garage 56 concept.

    Imagine a car completing an entire lap under computer control. Trusting a car to get you safely to work wouldn’t seem like such a leap. A successful effort could be used by a manufacturer in marketing efforts. The race data could also help inform regulatory policy development.

    I get why some (i.e., ACO) might be skeptical about having an “autonomous” car navigate traffic, but this is an area where the computer may actually outperform humans. Autonomous vehicles offer the potential of processing and acting on data from multiple sensors much more quickly than a human driver might. And given the nature of a race environment (fixed course; known and verifiable number of cars on track; no pedestrians, animals, etc.) solving the traffic management problem is somewhat easier here than it is in real life.

    Of course to get there, you’d need to prove the safety in many closed tests with human driven cars. This would up the cost of a Garage 56 project and without any guarantees of placement by ACO might be untenable for a manufacturer to take on. Maybe ACO could offer a multi-year Garage 56 entry and evolve racing regulations over a two or more year period, gradually enabling the “autonomous” features to be introduced in more race situations.

    I’d think adapting a GTE car would be most compelling due to its direct link to consumers. A prototype doesn’t really sell a company as having deployable technology. Ford may be best positioned to take on something like this, given their commitment to GTE and investment in autonomous R&D. VW could also be good, with Porsche or Audi, but who knows how they will focus racing investment in the next 5 years…

    • Twizzler

      August 23, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      Aside from the “vaporware” that seems to be Perrin and their failure to bring their non-existent project to fruition, the idea of a an autonomous car “competing” at Le Mans (or anywhere for that matter) is asinine.

      Apparently folks like Flat Tire want racing to invest even more heavily in its own demise. What the hell is the point of a driverless racing car??

      An autonomous vehicle “racing” is nothing but an engineering exercise. It contributes nothing to the drama or excitement of racing. I fail to understand why you remove the human from racing. Without the human element it’s irrelevant and will fail as a sport utterly.

      I also believe racing and road vehicle technology should steer far away from autonomous vehicles. They are a huge safety and security risk to society – NOT a benefit. In addition, they represent a massive loss of freedom and a potentially deleterious means of societal control.

      I want nothing to do with autonomous vehicles and abhor the concept of taking the driver out of race car.

      • Davy

        August 23, 2017 at 11:35 pm

        Totally agree.

      • NASCAR/DPs Suck

        August 28, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        What he said.

    • Helmut

      August 24, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Sensors are nice, but sensors / the software behind make errors as well. It is not just autonomous driving, it is autonomous driving at an endurance race with maximum speeds well beyond 300 km/h (at least I interpret the statement as if they want to race with the other cars on the track). I don’t think there is much experience with autonomous driving in this context, and any such project is likely hopeless as long as no major player joins the project.

  8. Anonymous

    August 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Shame to see the LMP1 project die, but I suppose it was inevitable when you have a company that seems to rely almost exclusively on crowd funding and crowd sourcing! It was never going to be viable long term.

    So it wasn’t the Morand Group wh’d bought the cars! curious……..

    Hopefully Ginetta and BR/Dallara can pull their cars out of the bag, Please!!!

  9. Mamozrenesis

    August 23, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Wow, another great news for WEC 🙁

    With no news coming from Ginetta and SMP’s BR-Dallara, the 10-car Lmp1-L field for 2018 seems nothing but a dream!

    • korda

      August 24, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Both cars will begin track testing in October-November. Is it so hard to wait until then?

      • Mamozrenesis

        August 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

        I hope you’re right, but in the social network era… How can I say… A picture showing a small detail to prove the project is moving forward…
        Is it difficult?
        In particular for Ginetta which has yet to sell a car as far as we know!

  10. Matt

    August 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    What’s the old saying?
    “Believe it when I see it” XD

  11. The Brad

    August 23, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Hope that autonomous car has an ejector seat, dude’s gonna need it.

  12. Michael Schneider

    August 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Sweet can’t wait for LMPDC class. Le Mans Prototype Driverless Class. Coming to replace LMP1. By 2025.

    • ArButNot

      August 23, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      This class has existed away from Le Mans for years – it’s called “Robot Wars” as seen on BBC and, for a while, in the US – where it died… of boredom.

      Racing autonomous cars at Le Mans is almost as stupid as the broader technological idea of connecting everything.

  13. N8

    August 24, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Is anyone here interested in seeing computer controlled cars race each other?

    At what point can we say, screw the drivers AND cars, let’s just simulate the race on a computer and see who wins? Ridiculous.

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