2003 Le Mans winner Guy Smith and two former SMP Racing LMP1 drivers will be a part of Team LNT’s eight-man testing squad for the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue at Barcelona this week.
The LNT team, which is effectively the works operation behind the two Ginetta GT60-LT-P1 AERs, only nominated factory drivers Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson on the entry list for the two-day event at Circuit de Catalunya.
However, it is set to test a total of eight drivers as part of its evaluation for the 2019-20 WEC season, which begins at Silverstone in September.
Smith, 44, will return to the wheel of a prototype for the first time since 2013 when he raced in the American Le Mans Series.
The Bentley ambassador, who stepped down from his works race position last year, is sharing the No. 6 Ginetta with Simpson, ex-Toyota and SMP LMP1 driver Stephane Sarrazin and Formula 2 race winner Luca Ghiotto.
Smith hinted to Sportscar365 that a race program with Chris Dyson, who is understood to have pulled out of the Prologue last-minute due to business commitments, could be possible.
Dyson has links to the program through his family’s ownership with Ginetta’s engine supplier AER.
“I think there’s definitely a chance and an opportunity, but absolutely nothing is signed,” Smith told Sportscar365.
“It’s getting quite late in the day but it’s just a case of seeing what the cars like.
“I know Ginetta and I’ve known Lawrence for a long time. They’ve just wanted some feedback on the car, really.
“I haven’t been in a [race] car for a year and a half, so it’s quite a big adjustment. I haven’t driven a prototype since VIR in 2013, and they’ve moved on quite a lot since then.”
The No. 5 Ginetta will be driven by Robertson, Egor Orudzhev, Mathias Beche and Stephane Richelmi.
Orudzhev was one of Sarrazin’s co-drivers at SMP Racing last season, while Beche drove for Rebellion Racing.
Richelmi won the 2016 LMP2 championship with Signatech Alpine and finished second in the 2018-19 class standings with Jackie Chan DC Racing.
Ginetta Planning Two Full-Season Cars
Ginetta company chairman Lawrence Tomlinson told Sportscar365 that it’s an “intention” to have two of the constructor’s LMP1 cars racing in the full WEC season.
While Team LNT filled two entries which appeared on the provisional season entry list, the organization had yet to confirm whether both would feature in all eight races.
“We’re hoping so; It’s currently our intention to do that,” said Tomlinson.
“We’ve got two cars here [in Spain], two cars at Silverstone and two cars going into containers. We’ll see how the season goes, how it looks like, and maybe even have a third car at Le Mans.
“It would be nice to see another team come on board with a Ginetta chassis, which we’re pretty sure is going to be competitive.
“I’m sad that SMP isn’t here and hopefully Rebellion will get two cars out because we really want to have a good race.
“If we can be competitive with the Toyotas as the season goes on, it’s something the spectators are going to want to see.”
John Dagys contributed to this report