Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson believes that the results of last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours serve to highlight the “golden opportunity” for privateer teams entering LMP1 next season.
Last weekend’s Le Mans was a nightmare for the five factory LMP1-Hybrid entries, with all three Toyotas and both Porsches hitting technical trouble.
While Porsche managed to salvage victory, its winning #2 car completed the race only one lap clear of the best LMP2, the #38 DC Racing Oreca, which led outright for two-and-a-half hours of the race late on.
The sole privateer LMP1 entry, the ByKolles team, retired after hitting problems on the opening lap, leaving the way clear for the LMP2 field to shine.
British brand Ginetta is currently pushing ahead with its new LMP1 design, which is scheduled to hit the tracks this winter ahead of a multi-car entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year.
Additional entries from SMP Racing/Dallara and PERRINN are expected to swell the series' non-hybrid LMP1 ranks significantly for 2018.
Ginetta is working closely with Williams on the development of its car, with a 50 percent scale model conducting its first runs in the F1 team’s wind tunnel last week.
Tomlinson told Motorsport.com that the troubles of the factory teams shows the potential a well-run privateer entry could have at La Sarthe.
“Le Mans last weekend just showed once again why this is such a good time to be moving into LMP1 as a privateer because if you had a quick and reliable car the potential was definitely there for an outright win, which it hasn’t been in recent years,” Tomlinson said.
“It wasn’t good for the factory teams. But there is a great opportunity out there for LMP1 to be so much more affordable and accessible. There are only four hybrid cars in the WEC, and just five at Le Mans, and reliability is a key area. This year they didn’t have that. The hybrid LMP1 cars are so technical now.
“We have simple, tried and tested engineering in our car, which is what you need for reliability at Le Mans. And last weekend proved if you can run reliably and at a good pace, then you can now win the race outright without being a full factory entry.”
Ginetta has already conducted in-depth CFD design work on its new car, which will be run by privateer teams with support from the factory next term.
Tomlinson said his firm was planning a minimum of four more runs in the Williams wind tunnel before on-track testing begins in November.
“We’re approaching the development of our new car in the exact same way a full factory team would,” he added. “We’re well advanced with the car. We’ve already done over 100 runs in CFD with different iterations and the numbers we got from the wind tunnel we’re delighted with.
“We’re working with some very experienced people and this is the perfect time for this project. We’ve even spoken to manufacturers about our car and the potential it has for the future. But they’re just general conversations at the moment.”