China-based motorsports specialist, TRS and Manor Endurance Racing have today revealed during a press conference in downtown Shanghai that together they will enter the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’ in the LMP1 class.
The Anglo-Chinese team – which started racing in LMP2 in 2015 – have confirmed the purchase of a Ginetta LMP1 chassis. A later announcement is expected on the engine supplier for the effort. This makes their programme the first Chinese-flagged LMP1 effort in WEC history.
“We are very happy to be entering the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship,” said John Booth, Manor team principal. “We have been learning this championship for the last two years and we are confident that the time is now right for us to step-up to the LMP1 category.
“We have known the people at Ginetta for many years and we believe that, working together, we will be able to develop a competitive LMP1 package.”
Graeme Lowdon, Manor sporting director added: “I think that the LMP1 category provides a fantastic challenge for us but we can rely on a lot of experience gained over the years, in particular those spent in Formula 1, relating to the management of the design, research, testing and development processes that are so important for a successful LMP1 team.”
With this announcement, Manor and TRS’ effort becomes the second Ginetta customer for its LMP1 programme, after the Yorkshire-based brand revealed that an unnamed customer team had purchased three chassis earlier this year.
It adds to the suddenly blossoming 2018/19 LMP1 class, which is set to feature entries from Dallara/SMP, ByKolles, the unnamed Ginetta customer and DragonSpeed in addition to Toyota potentially extending its LMP1 Hybrid programme into the 2018/19 season after Porsche pulls out.
“To take on endurance racing at this level is one of the toughest technical challenges in the world,” said Lawrence Tomlinson, Ginetta Cars’ chairman. “We knew that coming into the programme of designing and building the car. It’s great to have a racing partner who relishes those challenges just as much as we do going forward.”
Ewan Baldry, technical director, Ginetta Cars concluded: “This is more great news for the team designing and building the new Ginetta LMP1 cars. We have an incredibly strong team of people working on the LMP1 project, both in-house and as consultants. Our development team’s expertise is second-to-none, and I know they are looking forward to working with John, Graeme and their people.”
There’s no news yet in terms of either the team’s proposed driver line-up or on the status of Manor’s existing LMP2 programme going forward. The driver line-up is set to be announced ahead of the pre-season WEC Prologue test.