Manor to run Ginetta in LMP1

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - GARY WATKINS

A STRONG LMP1 GRID FOR NEXT YEAR’S LE MANS 24 Hours and the 2018/19 World En­durance Cham­pi­onship ‘su­per­sea­son’ looks as­sured af­ter a spate of an­nounce­ments by pri­va­teers in the past 10 days. The com­bined news means that there should be a min­i­mum of seven non-hy­brid in­de­pen­dent cars in the field when the WEC re­con­venes at Spa next May.

The Bri­tish Manor squad, a WEC player in LMP2 over the past two sea­sons, has firmed up its in­ten­tion to grad­u­ate to P1 with a Ginetta. The cur­rent plan is for one car, but the team is say­ing that it could ex­pand its as­sault to two en­tries be­fore the start of the sea­son. What it isn’t say­ing is whether it will use the Me­cachrome twin-turbo around which the Bri­tish P1 ma­chine has been de­signed.

US en­trant Dragon­speed, win­ner of this year’s Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries ti­tle with an ORECA run un­der the G-drive ban­ner, has also an­nounced plans to step up to the top class in the WEC. It hasn’t dis­closed its chas­sis-en­gine pack­age, only that two of the driv­ers will be Bri­ton Ben Han­ley, who made his re­turn to car rac­ing with the squad in 2016, and team pa­tron Hen­rik Hed­man.

Manor and Dragon­speed have joined the al­ready con­firmed pro­grammes from SMP Rac­ing with its new BR En­gi­neer­ing chas­sis, se­ries stal­wart Bykolles, and a two-car Ginetta squad whose iden­tity has yet to be re­vealed. There are sig­nals that more teams could be swayed to join by the prom­ise of lap time par­ity with any fac­tory hy­brid cars on the en­try list. That means Toy­ota, which is edg­ing to­wards recom­mit­ting.

Re­bel­lion Rac­ing, which stepped down to P2 for this sea­son, hasn’t ruled out a re­turn to the P1 pri­va­teer ranks, which it dom­i­nated from the re­birth of the

WEC in 2012. And Jackie Chan DC Rac­ing, P2 class win­ner at Le Mans this year, is say­ing that it has am­bi­tions to step up, though not for the su­per­sea­son.

The new Ginetta-me­cachrome LMP1 will be on dis­play at Jan­uary’s Au­tosport In­ter­na­tional at the Na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Birm­ing­ham.

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