Above: Colin Thompson is the 2017 LMP3 champion in the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda.
Norma Auto Concept has announced a merger with Duqueine Mobility, which will see the French LMP3 manufacturer – now branded Norma Automotive – review a move to LMP2 and expand development on an international scale.
Duqueine Engineering, which ran two Norma M30 LMPs in the 2017 European Le Mans Series, will withdraw from competition so as not to compete against its customers, team manager Yann Belhomme said.
“We will work to bring a new industrial dimension in order to promote Norma Automotive in Europe and around the world,” Belhomme explained. “Between the racing team Duqueine Engineering, our onboard vehicle engineering structure, our training center located at the base of the race track of the Pole Mecanique of Ales, our high-tech simulator and today the manufacturing of race cars, we can now offer a global service to our current and future customers.
“Logically, we will not compete with our customers, this is the reason why I announce the retirement of the Duqueine Engineering team in LMP3 racing. We experienced some incredible moments with Norma cars during ELMS, Michelin Cup and VdeV Endurance Series this season. For 2018 we will now be an ambassador of the category. Concerning the team, we are currently reviewing a LMP2 project.”
Norma had a successful 2017 racing season in both road and hill climb racing. Driving for Kelly-Moss Road and Race, American Colin Thompson clinched the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda LMP3 championship with a third-place finish at Road Atlanta. DKR Engineering drivers Alex Toril and Jean Glorieux recently won the drivers’ and teams’ title in Michelin Le Mans Cup on the strength of four victories in their Norma M30.
In June, two-time Le Mans overall winner Romain Dumas drove to a second straight win at the at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, in a Norma MXX RD Limited prototype. The car was an evolution of the 2016-winning M20, sharing the same carbon monocoque but featuring gains in downforce and its braking and all-wheel-drive system.
“I am enthusiastic about the future of Norma, joining the Duqueine Mobility group,” said founder and head of Norma Norbert Santos. “This new collaboration will breathe life into Norma and also into the spirit that has been driving us. The existing Norma crew will be reinforced by new skills that will bring a better service and an optimized support to our customers. Gilles Duqueine has strong values close to my heart and the same incredible racing passion that has always led me. I will be happy to continue to support him in this new exciting challenge.”
Added Gilles Duqueine: “I am very pleased with the arrival of Norma Automotive within the Duqueine Mobility group, entity which will have to follow the strategic line of development of Duqueine Group, which is so far 100 percent aeronautical. Norma Automotive brings us additional know-how including: design of carbon chassis, suspension, safety (crash- know I can count on Yann Belhomme to take up this challenge that we are going into with a lot of ambition and humility.
“I would like to commend the excellent work achieved by Norbert Santos and his crew, throughout those many successful years, that enable the Norma M20 (race track and hill climbing) and the Norma M30 to triumph. We will continue to manufacture winning cars!”
Haas Auto is Norma’s North American importer.