Lotterer open to privateer LMP1 WEC future

Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Andre Lotterer says he is open to racing with a privateer LMP1 team next year, following Porsche’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship's top division.

Lotterer open to privateer LMP1 WEC future
Ginetta LMP1
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
BR1 LMP1 spy shots
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
PERRINN LMP1
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
Andre Lotterer, Porsche Team
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
Start: #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy leads
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy

Lotterer has been left without a WEC drive for the first time since the series’ inception in 2012 in the wake of Audi and Porsche’s exit in successive years.

Although the German has found an alternative seat in Formula E with the Techeetah team, he remains keen on continuing in the premier sportscar championship in 2018/19 by joining a privateer squad.

The 35-year-old, however, made it clear that he would only make such a decision if he is convinced about parity between privateer outfits and Toyota, should the latter opt to remain in the WEC. 

He also ruled out joining an LMP2 team, saying only LMP1 interests him.

“I would like to continue racing in LMP1,” Lotterer told Motorsport.com. “You hear a lot of private teams are coming. We don’t know how they are going to balance it.

“From what I hear they want to balance it in a fair way but of course if Toyota stays, which I guess they will, they will be the favourites.”

“If it’s a seriously good [private] project for sure I would like to race. But let’s see what kind of teams will be on board next year.

“It’s not just about participating in all, it needs to make sense, to be with good teammates. It could also be a transitional year to build something stronger for the future.”

Potential options for a privateer LMP1 seat could include Ginetta, which is set to be represented on the grid by an as-yet-unnamed two-car team, ByKolles, and BR Engineering/Dallara.

"Nothing wrong" with LMP1 regs

Many have questioned the sustainability of LMP1 regulations following the departure of Audi and Porsche and the difficulty WEC has had in attracting other manufacturers to take their place.

However, Lotterer feels there was nothing inherently wrong with the class, saying the manufacturers themselves wanted complex hybrid technologies on their cars despite the high costs involved.

“I don’t think it’s something that has gone wrong," said Lotterer. "It’s just the decisions of Audi and Porsche to go somewhere else and do other stuff.

“You can argue that it’s expensive, but they wanted all that technology. Porsche, Toyota and Audi always got together, their working groups: they want this, this and this technology.

“We all know that things change a bit in the automotive industry and things are going electric. Also it didn’t help what happened to Volkswagen Group [the dieselgate scandal]."

Referring to the planned 2018 LMP1 regulations that were abandoned last year, he added: “It’s a shame because they had a bright future. We were expecting three hybrid systems on the cars.

“The cars are amazing, great battles. In terms of racing, for me it’s been the greatest racing category that’s been around. We had great fights, great team spirit.

"It’s a shame it prematurely ended but that’s how it is sometimes. But we will come back.”

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