The first customer for Ginetta’s 2018 LMP1 non-hybrid car was revealed today in a Daily Sports Car (DSC) exclusive. In his article, Graham Goodwin details that Manor’s sportscar racing team aims to field at least one Ginetta for the 2018 WEC season.
The news comes a week after Ginetta’s announcement to begin production on an LMP1 car, and Manor’s surprise announcement it would be leaving Formula 1 due to financial reasons.
Manor’s team president Graeme Lowdon expressed his excitement towards the 2018 LMP1 program, in the DSC exclusive. Lowdon said, “This is the ideal programme to take our sportscar racing programme forward… We are looking for a project that plays to our team’s strength, our ability to contribute to the development of a race car and to use that to develop talent on and off the track, and to challenge for results.”
With Manor’s graduation from LMP2 to LMP1 comes more exposure for the team and the potential to challenge the LMP1 hybrids for overall podiums. An estimated 800 BHP will be at the disposal of teams running Ginetta’s cars. Meaning Manor will certainly have the ponies to be within striking distance on race days in 2018 should trouble strike any of the hybrids.
Manor’s first season in LMP2 was mixed. The team often did well in qualifying but fell off in the races. The team hopes to build from the knowledge it gained in 2016 and translate their experience into better results for the 2017 season.
The LMP2 category will contain fierce competition for Manor in 2017 including the Rebellion Racing team. Coincidentally, Rebellion dominated LMP1 non-hybrid since its inception, the class Manor seeks to join in 2018. It remains to be seen what Rebellion’s 2018 plans are, but the possibility exists a 2017 Manor/Rebellion rivalry can evolve into a LMP1 non-hybrid duel in 2018.
Ginetta have already received interest by a pair of it’s LMP3 customers, ARC Bratislava and PRT Racing, in fielding additional cars for the WEC. As the grid begins taking shape for the 2018 season, the prototype field looks to be as strong as ever despite Audi’s departure. Still remaining is the possibility of Audi’s tub developed for the 2017 season being run as a non-hybrid in the future. It would take a team with a significant bravado to field such a car. Seeing the four rings on the WEC grid in any capacity would be a welcome to all eyes.
The level of interest in the Ginetta chassis opens up the possibility of enticing another manufacturer into LMP1 non-hybrid class. This begs the question, is another announcement on the horizon? As the 2017 season nears, the growth and allure of the WEC appears to be as strong as ever.
Photo credit: Club Arnage