Boris Rotenberg, president of BR Engineering, and Andrea Portremoli, CEO of the Dallara, signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday yesterday which will see the design and development of a new LMP1 car, labelled the BR1.
The new car is set to contest the 2018 FIA WEC under the SMP racing banner, with technical and logistical support from ART Grand Prix.
The BR Engineering/ Dallara agreement will see the Russian and Italian design offices effectively combine, though DSC understands that, at present, BR01 designer Paolo Catone, is not involved with the design of the new car and Benjamin Durand, long at the head of BR Engineering has no active role at present either.
“We raised a challenge to ourselves,” said BR Engineering president Rotenberg. “It was possible to buy a chassis of one of the four manufacturers of LMP2 for a season, also it was possible to leave for good, but we have always chosen our own path.
“Not necessarily, and not always the easiest, but [this way] is for sure the most interesting and promising. The aim of the project was and remains the development of Russian motorsport, including the technology sector.
“We invest a lot in support of the Russian drivers to help talented children to start a career in karting and successfully continue it in the GT, prototypes or single-seaters. Our prototype LMP2 BR01 is the first Russian car on the Le Mans podium.
“BR1 is the continuation of this project, aimed primarily at attracting higher technology in our country. Dallara’s name is known to anyone who is familiar with the motor racing.
“Now we have become partners, and BR Engineering’s new project has started here in Italy, where the best designers and engineers, both from Russia and from Europe, will create a Russian prototype for Russian team SMP Racing. They are going to face a lot of work.”
Rotenberg’s quote indicates that a return to LMP2 in the FIA WEC for the 2017 season for SMP racing looks unlikely at present and there are indications too that the imminent departure from the LMP1 scene from Audi Sport increased the case to push forward with the new BR1 programme. ByKolles Racing have announced their intention to continue in LMP1 L through 2017, the only team as yet that has committed to the sub-class with Rebellion Racing moving to LMP2 with a pair of new Orecas, though refusing to count out a possible return to the LMP1 class should revised regulations offer potential to do so.