After the announcement last week from Jota Sport of their expansion to a WEC and ELMS programme for 2016 with an Oreca 05 Nissan joining the team’s successful Gibson Nissan it was time to take a look at some of the other current teams to take a view on what is in store for next season:
The new entry for the now ex-SMP Racing BR01s was indeed, at least in part, to facilitate the signing of a Dunlop tyre deal.
AF Racing is an offshoot of a company (24H Racing) owned by BR Engineering MD Benjamin Durand.
The team is in a big hurry for success with the now rather life-limited BR01s. The cars showed major pace at Paul Ricard despite no apparent testing on Dunlops (no tyres were supplied to the team prior to the contract which DSC believes was finalised at Paul Ricard!).
There will be a major push for a win at the remaining race in the ELMS at Estoril next month and the team are now actively looking at other opportunities to demonstrate and exploit the evident pace in the car.
There is a high likelihood that a BR01 will be tested and evaluated with the Judd V8 engine in the near future “As with the tyre suppliers it is only sensible to look at the available options on engines.”
As far as the 2016 racing programme for the cars is concerned all options are open:
“We like the ELMS, it suits the programme very well but we are looking at other options too, including the FIA WEC. That though depends on a number of factors including the ultimate classification of some of our drivers.
“We are taking a look too at Daytona, that would be a good race for the start of the season, and one where we would be able to demonstrate the pace of the car.”
Sebring is also on the ‘potential’ list.
There was though further confirmation that the failure for BR Engineering to be selected for a license as an approved LMP2 chassis supplier from 2017 will also mean that they will not be pursuing an LMP3 project.
Mark Goddard’s team will have left Paul Ricard very disappointed after an early race problem ruined a race they felt they could have finished well up in.
The team will complete the ELMS season in conjunction with a full season effort in the 2015/16 Asian Le Mans Series.
That will involve the team leasing the Boutsen Ginion Oreca 03R for the first two rounds in Asia with a plan for the effort to expand to two cars for the two early 2016 rounds with the addition of the team’s current ELMS steed.
Beyond that Eurasia are looking to update from the 03R with AutoHebdo confirming this week that the team have an Oreca 05 Coupe on order with an evaluation of a potential WEC programme underway.
As an aside David Cheng confirmed to DSC at Paul Ricard that Eurasia are assisting his new DC Racing LMP3 effort in Asian Le Mans with logistical and tech support – Cheng will rejoin Ho Pin Tung at the Shanghai WEC round in a Pegasus run Ligier LMP2
A no-show at Paul Ricard, the team should re-appear at Estoril with some significant news!
The heavy Paul Ricard shunt for Michael Lyons did not result in chassis damage for the #48 Oreca 03R. That will be good news for Murphy’s Men who DSC understands will continue to campaign this year’s car next season.
A potential move to a new BR01 has now been discounted.
After an impressive run at Paul Ricard, particularly with Leo Roussel at the wheel, Pegasus Racing are another team looking to the future with the likely addition of a Ligier JS P2 next season after a planned one-off appearance with the coupe at the WEC round in Shanghai this year.
A full season entry in the 2016 FIA WEC is under evaluation too with a possible parallel programme utilising at least one of the team’s current pair of Morgan chassis in ELMS with a watching brief also being kept on the Asian Le Mans Series where a Pegasus appearance in the 2015/16 Series is not yet discounted.