Welter Racing is the latest manufacturer to throw its hat into the development of a new prototype for the new-for-2014 LMP1 regulations.
Sportscar365 has learned that the longtime French constructor, commonly known as WR, is building an all-new LMP1 car, as well as offering LMP2 versions of the prototype, for as early as mid next year.
“We began designing the chassis six months ago,” said WR CAD engineer Thibaut Dejardin in an exclusive interview. “There’s a wind tunnel model that will go to Paris at the end of the year. We will then want to pass the ACO rules with the chassis.”
Dejardin said a full-scale wind tunnel model is now being produced, with plans to start construction of the first chassis, earmarked for LMP1, early next year. The team hopes to begin on-track testing and development in April.
While a race program has not yet been finalized, Dejardin said they are actively seeking customers and partners for the project and hope to sell up to five cars between both classes.
The LMP1 car will be built to accommodate a variety of customer powerplants, including units from Zytek, AER, Judd and Toyota. The major difference to the LMP2 version comes with the engine, he said.
“There’s not [much interest] in LMP1 right now because it’s for the constructors,” Dejardin said. “But the new LMP1 rules are written for 2014 and and we can use the chassis longer. With LMP2, we don’t know what the ACO and FIA want to do for the future.”
Dejardin also confirmed that the chassis will be used for a future Garage 56 entry, with an announcement on that program expected shortly. WR was the designer of the GreenGT H2, the hydrogen-electric powered prototype that withdrew from this year’s race.
WR joins OnRoak Automotive (OAK Racing), ORECA (Rebellion R-One), Perrinn Ltd, Dome, ADESS AG and Wirth Research (HPD coupe) as constructors that have all either announced or committed to customer-based LMP1 designs.