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SMP Evaluating Additional End of Year Races for BR01 Prototype

SMP Racing BR01 LMP2 car could contest Petit Le Mans…

Photo: SMP Racing

Photo: SMP Racing

While focused on the European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans, SMP Racing’s new BR Engineering LMP2 car could make an end-of-season appearance in either the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship or FIA World Endurance Championship. (En Français)

According to managing director Benjamin Durand, the Russian-built prototype, which is set for its debut next weekend in Imola, may take part in the Petit Le Mans or Six Hours of Bahrain in order to showcase the car to potential customers in both markets.

“There’s been additional interest since the first tests,” Durand told Endurance-Info. “The U.S. market is interesting, as well as Asia. BR Engineering will meet the needs of the ACO and FIA.”

Two of the Paolo Catone-designed BR01 prototypes will be run in the ELMS this year, although Durand said they can build up to five cars. Deliveries could be made by as early as mid-July should a team place an order by Le Mans.

“We respect the regulations and we will earn 1 Euro on the sale of a car,” Durand said. “BR Engineering scrupulously respects the cost-cap. Unlike other manufacturers, we started with a clean sheet.”

Durand said the manufacturer, bearing the name of SMP Racing team principal Boris Rotenberg, is positioning itself for the future, with multiple projects under evaluation.

It includes a possible foray into LMP3, although that would largely depend on the success of its LMP2 program, which could be in jeopardy should BR not be selected as a constructor for the new-for-2017 regulations.

Despite being the newest prototype manufacturer on the block, Durand remains hopeful of their prospects.

“The spirit of Le Mans is always about having the smaller [organizations] go up against the bigger and we hope that will continue,” he said.

“The LMP3 category can be interesting to launch young drivers in endurance. SMP has a young driver program. But what’s the point of going to LMP3 if we are not successful in LMP2?

“I don’t see SMP Racing running with an ORECA or Onroak chassis in the future.”

The immediate focus, however, is to prove its current concept. The Nissan-powered prototype is coming off a successful endurance test at Paul Ricard, which saw it complete more 4,300 miles in testing.

“We must pass the test at Le Mans,” Durand said. “It’s already a surprise to have completed an endurance test without any concerns.

“We all know what it’s like to run a new car but we must also [consider] the value of Paolo Catone.

“The car is very well prepared. The work is well done, there’s no doubt.”

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 FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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