Can Manor Take Porsche’s Place In WEC LMP1?

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With so many manufacturer-backed LMP1 hybrid entries withdrawn, privateer teams like Manor/Ginetta stand a real chance of winning – more than they ever did in the LMP2 class in which Manor has been campaigning Oreca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.

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  • fabri99

    I think what FIA needs in the WEC is to resurrect the GT1 series. It would bring back McLaren and Ferrari, who already have the cars for the job (FXX K and P1 GTR), and many other car makers in the mix. It would be cheaper to run, we would have glorious road cars derived from these racers and Le Mans would be safe and sound. I like the LMP1 and LMP2 categories, but they aren’t economically sustainable (or at least worthy of such investments) anymore for most car makers… I’d keep them racing at Le Mans, but maybe as an experimental class below the GT1 racers. Perhaps they could unite LMP1 and LMP2 in a singular LMP racing category… Give them same performance levels, much like it was back in the 90s, and you’d have prototypes racing against road-derived cars. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It could also be applied to the lower categories, with GT3 racers competing against LMP3 prototypes (Radicals, if I’m right, though I’m not sure which championships are these cars involved)… I don’t know, but FIA needs to find a solution as soon as possible.

    • Vassilis

      Yes, yes, yes!

    • Vasilescu Petru-Ionut

      It’s interesting how IMSA (which really is a more a national championship) manages to attract more manufacturers than the WEC, which is International. IMSA is also more fun to watch also, it’s a lot more competitive and has a really interesting grid in the Prototype, GT LM and GT D classes. These two championships need more joint races as Le Mans is the only race where cars from both championships meet. They agreed on GT LM class, but LMP2 and Daytona Prototypes are highly similar and share common platforms but took a different path, allowing manufactrers more room to personalize their car and making more of them to join.

      • fabri99

        Agreed, FIA should take a thing or two from IMSA (just not the awful tracks, mostly urban and not technical at all).

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