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What’s New For 2018? LMP1, A New Era

And lots of variety

As well as looking at the some of the teams, cars, and personalities that won’t be around in 2018, we’ll also be looking forward on DSC, at what’s to come for the new sportscar season, which let’s not forget, starts in just a couple of weeks time!

First up, we’re looking at LMP1, where for 2018, we’ll see a slew of new cars, engines and teams enter the fray in time for the FIA WEC ‘Super Season’ as Privateers form a (so far) orderly queue to take a tilt at Toyota!

There’s even better news too around the current nine car confirmed 2018/ 2019 FIA WEC LMP1 entry with no known entry yet opting for the same chassis/ engine combination, variety will be very much to the fore too!

Ginetta

The DSC Ed has seen the first Ginetta LMP1 in build and it is a stunner!

TRS Racing/Manor will be the first customer with a single car initially and the potential for a second if the early testing goes the way everyone hopes. An earlier customer has gone very quiet, for now at the very least!

Whilst initially announced as being designed around the Mecachrome direct injection turbo V6, the car is now available with a range of turbo or normally aspirated engines.

The car is set to be unveiled at the Racing Car Show in Birmingham in early January with intensive testing planned for the first car throughout the early weeks of 2018.

BR1 LMP1

Dallara built, designed by a combination of Dallara and Russian talent and with logistical and technical support from ART Grand Prix the SMP Racing effort for 2018/ 2019 is composed of a pair of these purposeful-looking car powered by AER’s revised P60B twin turbo V6.

Early running has not been trouble-free, one of the first tests saw a substantial off for Mikhail Aleshin after a suspension failure. The Russian star sported a forearm in plaster and a ready cover story for that one.

That said that is what testing is for and the ingredients behind this effort suggest a campaign of high quality awaits with a galaxy of rapid Russians involved in testing thus far including Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov, Sergei Sirotkin and SMP regulars Viktor Shaytar and Kirill Ladygin.

The car initially destined to be SMP’s spare chassis has now been sold to 10Star DragonSpeed for a single car effort at the ‘Super Season’  – DragonSpeed became the first customers for a new LMP1 version of the already well proven Gibson V8 that provides the power for the current LMP2 posse, an uprated version should be powerful and reliable enough to do battle in this company.

Henrik Hedman is confirmed for the season, together with Ben Hanley, the Brit filling the dual role of fast pro and able driver coach for the car owner.

ByKolles CLM P1/01

ByKolles return for another crack at the WEC for the coming season after ducking out of the flyaways to prepare for the task ahead. Their CLM P1/01 has seen development, and testing, with more to come before racing gets underway again.

The Cosworth-built Nissan twin turbo V6 returns as the fire in the belly, it showed real ability at Spa, but failed badly at le Mans.

An intersting mix of drivers has seen mileage in testing, returnees Oliver Webb and Pierre Kaffer, newbies Tom Dillmann and Raolo Ruberti amongst them.

The Austrian flagged effort though will have had to have seen a major step forward in both the pace and reliability stakes to prove a convincing part of this grid now though, here’s hoping they have!

ORECA LMP1

The latest addition to the guest list isn’t even officially confirmed as yet but it’s a pretty open secret that ORECA will again supply the cars to power Rebellion Racing’s two car return to LMP1 after a single (title winning) season in LMP2.

Little is officially known about the car, though an interview released by ORECA earlier in the year did refer to the next LMP2 likely being the ORECA 11, as “09 is for another project”!

The engine is, as yet unannounced too but sources suggest that the Gibson V8 (below) might well be the chosen motive power here too.

ORECA also look set to take a very hands on role in engineering this effort, the long-time alliance between Rebellion and the Hayden-family owned Sebah Engineering could well continue too though. There is an awful lot up in the air at present.

Drivers have been announced, and a galaxy of stars it is too, Messrs Lotterer and Jani provide World Championship (and Le Mans) winning punch. Bruno Senna a standout name and talent too whilst Mathias Beche has been a man who has long been a part of the Rebellion story.

Gustavo Menezes’s adventures with the team at Petit Le Mans will have gone a long way towards securing his place on the roster whilst Thomas Laurent, now a Gold ranked driver, is in the process of learning that at this level decisions and consequences get tough very quickly!