Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden has not ruled out a future return to the LMP1 ranks, amid the influx of new constructors and a potential entry rebound to the privateer subclass by as early as next year.
The Anglo-Swiss squad makes its LMP2 debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend with a pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons, including one chassis it ran at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Hayden, who along with the team’s Engineering and Operations Manager, Ian Smith, attended Thursday’s technical presentation of the new Ginetta LMP1 car, expressed interest in a return but only if two conditions are met.
“What we would want to see is we wouldn’t want to be the only ones there doing it… and also the competitiveness of the package,” Hayden told Sportscar365.
“What you don’t want to see is a car that’s four seconds away from the factory guys. It loses its mojo a little bit if that’s the case.
“At the moment, in P2, we’re all fighting for finishing the first behind the factory guys, and really that’s what we’ve been doing for the past few years. And we have competition, and the cost should be less.
“To go back to how we were requires a compelling proposition, and I would say that this is very interesting, but not [yet] compelling.”
Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson has targeted up to six of its LMP1 cars to be on the grid next year, alongside a planned two-car effort from SMP Racing with its new Dallara-built BR1 prototype, and the likely return of ByKolles with an all-new car.
Hayden, meanwhile, admitted there are a number of factors to consider, including the global specification of LMP2, which allows the Anglo-Swiss squad to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the same car.
“The thing that you have to bear in mind is this car, the Ginetta car, won’t be eligible in the U.S.,” he said. “If we want to have a presence in the U.S., we need to keep the [Oreca] 07.”
Having run Oreca-built Rebellion R-Ones in the WEC from 2014-2016, Hayden said it would be “quite a tall task” for Ginetta to be ready for the beginning of next year, yet praised the constructor for its lineup of technical partners.
Hayden, though, has effectively ruled out a switch back for next year, having just recently purchased three new Oreca LMP2 chassis.
“We’ve just invested in new cars and [the Ginetta] would be an unproven product,” he said.
“I think two years to do LMP2, you’d still have a value in what you had because you could potentially sell it to a team, and they’ve got two years that they can still use it.
“You could perhaps get something back, and by then the car should have done testing and been proven reliably, and things like that.
“I would think it would be perhaps of interest in 2019 because these things, you can’t rush them. Even the factory guys throw their arms in the air when people try to impose change on them quickly.”