UK-flagged IndyCar team Carlin has confirmed it will move into LMP2 racing in 2019, competing in the European Le Mans Series with Dallara.
RACER learned of the possibility of Carlin moving into prototypes toward the end of last year, when it obtained images of its newly confirmed full-season driver Jack Manchester testing a Dallara at Barcelona with ELMS team High Class Racing. At the time, Carlin denied to RACER that it was doing anything more than supporting Manchester at the test with a team member on site.
Since then, Manchester’s program has developed into a full-scale ELMS campaign with the single-seater stalwart for what will be both the team and Manchester’s debut season in prototypes.
Since trying his hand in a P2 at Barcelona, Manchester has tested again at Motorland Aragon in Spain, and at that time it appeared that the team was looking increasingly likely to campaign one of High Class Racing’s Dallara P217s in 2019. However, RACER understands that Carlin will use the chassis SMP Racing campaigned last year for its debut season.
After testing the car last year, Manchester told RACER that due to his height, the Dallara chassis is the only one he can drive comfortably. He did confirm that both tests in Spain went well with the Dallara.
“I would like to thank Trevor and the team at Carlin Racing for this incredibly exciting and unique opportunity,” Manchester said yesterday.
“Racing a Dallara LMP2 in the European Le Mans Series presents the perfect next step in my career, especially with a team that has the pedigree of Carlin.
“Although this is something new for both of us, I can’t think of a better team to take on this challenge with. I’m really looking forward to the season ahead!”
The team will run its P2 operation from its Farnham workshop in the UK. It is set to compete in the ELMS as part of its initial program, though Carlin has confirmed it will enter the Asian Le Mans series in the future.
The remaining two drivers which the team will run this year alongside Manchester are set to be confirmed soon, with some significant names from the top of sports car racing believed to be in the fray during the inception of this program to join the Briton for the 2019 season.
“The whole team are very excited about our move into LMP2,” Trevor Carlin said. “It’s an exciting category and a move that we’ve been assessing for a while. We see a lot of great drivers now move up the single-seater ranks and aim for professional drives in endurance racing rather than Formula 1, which shows the high respect this category of racing is held.
“For us, it’s another opportunity to hold onto and work with some great former Carlin drivers who are now at the professional level. In Jack, we have a very promising young British driver, right at the start of his career. We’re excited to work with him further and help him show his potential in LMP2.”
The ELMS entry list for 2019 features a maximum capacity grid of 42 cars, with 18 of them in LMP2 (the top class).
With AVF by Adrian Valles and SMP Racing not returning to the ELMS this year, Cetilar Racing set to join the WEC and High Class Racing switching to ORECA, Carlin is now the only team racing with Dallara in the series.