BAR­RETT DE­LIGHTED WITH HIS­TORIC WIN

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com­pet­ing over the past year, and wasn’t ex­pect­ing a great re­sult, but once he set­tled af­ter the first cou­ple of stages he went rea­son­ably well to take fourth. Andy John­son in his Vaux­hall Chevette HSR had a clean run to fifth, with Shawn Rayner round­ing off the top six.

Seven-time Cir­cuit of Ire­land win­ner Jimmy Mcrae did well to bring his Vaux­hall Firenza Can-am into seventh, com­ment­ing: “I al­ways love com­ing to Kil­lar­ney for th­ese stages, fond mem­o­ries and a great at­mos­phere. The Firenza has loads of power, the prob­lem is stop­ping it!”

Stan­ley Orr made a bril­liant start to the rally in his Mk1 Es­cort Pinto, third over­all af­ter the open­ing stage, but un­for­tu­nately he re­tired when the oil pump seized on the road sec­tion through Ken­mare. Barry Jones lost three min­utes on the open­ing Molls Gap stage when his Es­cort Mk2 in­curred a punc­ture. This left him in 38th place but he then had a great drive to come into ninth.

OK, I’ll ad­mit it. I was wrong about LMP3.

When the class was first an­nounced I joined the scep­tics that thought it was point­less, ex­pen­sive, and just an­other ‘For­mula Le Mans’ niche in an al­ready crowded mar­ket­place that would only ever at­tract a hand­ful of cars. Oh, how wrong I was. Just over two and a half years since the Au­to­mo­bile Club de l’ouest made its an­nounce­ment that LMP3 was in­com­ing, it stands on the edge of tak­ing the world by storm.

The num­bers are frankly scary. Five brands have projects on the go. The largest of which, Ligier, has sold in ex­cess of 80 chas­sis since the first JS P3 rolled onto the track just a year ago. LMP3 com­prises 50 per cent of the Euro­pean Le Mans Series grid, 40 per cent of the Asian LMS and is about to crack Amer­ica too.

It’s the pro­to­type equiv­a­lent of an avalanche, let alone a snow­ball ef­fect.

LMP3 has been de­signed to be cost-ef­fec­tive pro­to­type rac­ing, with con­trol aero­dy­nam­ics, en­gines and in­ter­nals, all fit­ted to su­per-ca­pa­ble, su­per-safe chas­sis.

But with that heavy reg­u­la­tion, there’s al­ways a feel­ing that the ma­chines could be ca­pa­ble of more, es­pe­cially with the ap­petite for pro­to­type rac­ing right now per­haps larger than it’s ever been. Ginetta cer­tainly thought so... So Ginetta built the G57-P2. The Leeds brand es­sen­tially es­tab­lished LMP3 as we know it. It was the first to com­mit to build­ing a car, and as a re­sult was the first to run one too. At the first-ever LMP3 race– Sil­ver­stone’s ELMS opener in April 2015 – five cars turned out. All were Ginet­tas.

The build sched­ule was a re­mark­able achieve­ment. From con­cept to turn-key race­car in a lit­tle over eight months. But at the same time as an­nounc­ing its LMP3 project, Ginetta al­ways had a plan to make a hard-core ver­sion of the same de­sign.

That is the G57 – an LMP3 car on steroids if you like. De­signed to make the most of an LMP3 chas­sis, by mov­ing it to a new level of per­for­mance, but still at a sen­si­ble cost.

“We al­ways knew the LMP3 prod­uct had a lot more per­for­mance po­ten­tial than it’s al­lowed to show un­der the reg­u­la­tions,” says Ginetta’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Ewan Baldry, who knows a thing or two about fast sportscars hav­ing built the Juno mar­que.

“The rules were writ­ten with the mind­set on cost and a strict per­for­mance level – not as fast as LMP2, but quicker than GT. You have to run a man­dated sin­gle-el­e­ment rear wing, small dif­fuser and spec en­gine and gear­box. But the chas­sis are eas­ily ca­pa­ble of han­dling more.”

Us­ing its in-house de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing de­part­ments, Ginetta set about ex­plor­ing quite how much ‘more’ could be shoe­horned into an al­ready pretty quick race car. They started with the en­gine. Out went the heav­ily re­stricted five-litre 450bhp Nis­san unit, and in came the trusty 6.2-litre Chevro­let LS3 V8 – a pow­er­plant ca­pa­ble of up to 600bhp.

All of that ex­tra torque needed con­trol­ling too. Ginetta worked with LMP3 gear­box sup­plier Xtrac to up­grade the P3 gear­box with stronger in­ter­nals and also fit­ted an ad­justable trac­tion con­trol sys­tem, some­thing LMP3 cars must run with­out.

To­gether with the ex­tra grunt, Ginetta linked up with Toy­ota Mo­tor­sport in Cologne to de­sign the aero kit. The G57 runs a twin el­e­ment rear wing, ex­tra frontal aero and a huge rear dif­fuser com­pared to a stock P3 part.

“We’ve added about 30 per cent ex­tra down­force to the G57,” says Baldry. “The P3 is very rear-end lim­ited, so when we ran cars we were al­ways look­ing for more grip from the rear in the set-up. Hav­ing the ex­tra aero makes a huge dif­fer­ence, par­tic­u­larly through the high-speed cor­ners.

“The Chevy en­gine was also the log­i­cal choice. We ac­tu­ally bought a range of en­gines when we were de­vel­op­ing this car, but the sim­plic­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity of the sin­gle-cam, push rod Chevy won out. It gives ac­ces­si­ble per­for­mance and costs about a third of the more high-tech units out there, and it is ac­tu­ally lighter than the spec P3 Nis­san unit.

“as Chevro­let, ev­ery­where. our we and at un­lim­ited the

On P2 which

“ex­pe­ri­ence says ex­pe­ri­ence, had to of them. blank

Nat­u­rally, racer mar­ket the

Kil­lar­ney His­toric Stages Rally Bar­rett pulled out a large ad­van­tage in fi­nal stages

LMP3 base chas­sis car­ries up­graded

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