Porsche and Audi may be gone from the next season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, but there’s at least one other team stepping up to take their place.
That team is Manor, a name which you may recognize from Formula One. What started out as Virgin Racing in 2010 and left the grid after last season has been competing in the LMP2 category, but is now advancing to the top tier.
Starting with the forthcoming 2018/19 “super season,” Manor will run a single Ginetta prototype in the LMP1 category, with an engine package still to be confirmed. That’ll put it up against Toyota (assuming it stays in the race) as well as the privateer ByKolles and Dallara/BR Engineering entries.
“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,” said Manor team principal John Booth. “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.”
“To take on endurance racing at this level is one of the toughest technical challenges in the world,” added Ginetta chief Lawrence Tomlinson. “It’s great to have a racing partner who relishes those challenges just as much as we do.”
The series moves to a “winter schedule” for its upcoming seventh season, encompassing Spa and Le Mans in both 2018 and 2019, hitting Silverstone, Fuji, Shanghai, and Sebring in between.
With so many manufacturer-backed LMP1 hybrid entries withdrawn, privateer teams like Manor/Ginetta stand a real chance of winning – more than they ever did in the LMP2 class in which Manor has been campaigning Oreca machinery for the past two years.