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SMP Racing & The BR01, The Way Forward

The BR01 LMP2 coupe has proved to be a controversial machine, the Paolo Cantone-designed machine at the core of one of a pair of programmes that appear to have been targeted for early oblivion by the ACO’s 2017 LMP2 regulations.

The lack of post 2016 eligibility in the ELMS and FIA WEC for the car has led to a rapid fire set of potential projects emerging as the constructors, their associated SMP Racing team, and the US trade sanctions evading AF Racing effort work to show the new car in potentially winning form.

Here’s where things currently stand in terms of potential programmes for 2016 and beyond.

FIA WEC

A two car effort in the 2016 WEC looks certain to be at the centre of AF Racing’s plans. Drivers are not yet known but Mikhail Aleshin and Nic Minassian are still very much in favour with Viktor Shaytar keen to step up to a full-season LMP drive again.

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BR Engineering are set to build two new chassis to service the WEC campaign.

ELMS

With the planned two new chassis the build total thus far climbs to at least five with BR Engineering currently in discussions with “several serious” prospects for 2016 ELMS entries with the team’s 2015 cars (two race cars plus a spare tub were built for 2015), though at least one serious prospect for a customer effort has confirmed to DSC that they will not proceed with a BR01.

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IMSA

A single BR01 has been confirmed for the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona with BR Engineering telling DSC at Bahrain that any decision over further outings in the IMSA series would be evaluated after that Daytona outing. That evaluation would certainly include the competitiveness of the LMP2 chassis vs the current crop of DPs and its performance on the Series’ spec Continental rubber.

Asian Le Mans Series

The BR01 chassis is eligible through to 2019 in the Asian LMS. No doubt there will be a programme of sorts in due course there but there is no sign of that emerging just yet.

LMP1

BR Engineering were in attendance at the Bahrain meeting with the ACO involving current and prospective LMP1 Privateer entrants, the BR01 chassis having potential to be adapted to LMP1 specification.

DSC is aware of a potential LMP1 engine development programme for the car though a final decision on progressing that programme is unlikely to be taken until after the ACO respond to the list of points raised in the meeting to make the field more cost effective and competitive. Watch this space!

GTE

The GTE programme that has yielded ELMS GTC, ELMS GTE and FIA WEC GTE AM titles in successive years is also under review. Reports of a confirmed GTE PRO entry for next season with a new Ferrari 488 are somewhat premature – no car has been ordered (yet!).

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GTE Pro with a new car, GTE AM with either the 2015 Championship winning car or an ex factory 458, or indeed no GTE programme at all are all possible conclusions to that review.