Whilst the 2018 plan for SMP Racing, or rather for the BR Engineering outfit that has supported the LMP2 efforts of the Russian flagged team, is now established (see yesterday’s story here), the plan for the 2017 endurance racing season is far from clear with multiple options in both LMP2 and GTE still under very active consideration.
What is clear is that the two seasons are being planned as entirely separate programmes with the LMP1 design, build and development consortium of BR Engineering, Dallara and ART Grand Prix firmly aimed at 2018, there are as yet no plans to field Dallara chassis or collaborate with ART Grand Prix in 2017.
Quite separately ART are known to be marketing an FIA WEC package to prospective customers for the 2017 season with Dallara chassis though, as yet there is no confirmation of any takers for that offer.
At SMP Racing meanwhile the focus thus far is on options involving the BR01 Nissan, of which the team own eight chassis, and/ or GTE Ferraris in either Am or even potentially Pro.
The SMP branding looks set to return to the AF Corse Pro cars but there has long been potential for additional Ferrari 488 GTEs to be fielded by the 2015 WEC GTE AM Champions (the Championship winning 458 GTE pictured below).
For the BR01 meanwhile there are, realistically, three available options:
Asian Le Mans Series:
Unfettered access available but sources make it very clear that this would only happen as a customer effort.
European Le Mans Series:
It is still possible that we might see a BR01 or two as a stopgap programme in 2017 though DSC understands that there has not been any clear indiction given of either any potential other entries with grandfathered cars, or of the final spec that the cars, which would not be performance balanced with the new and more powerful Gibson engined P2s, would be expected to run in.
DSC understands that a potential entry for a BR01 at Daytona is now not under active consideration as the numbers of new spec P2s and DPis rises.