Ginetta hopeful of racing LMP1 car at Spa

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Ginetta hopeful of racing LMP1 car at Spa

Le Mans/WEC

Ginetta hopeful of racing LMP1 car at Spa

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Yorkshire-based LMP1 manufacturer Ginetta is refusing to give up on getting its G60-LT-P1s back on track in the FIA WEC, chairman Lawrence Tomlinson telling RACER that he is still pushing hard to get a car out for the second 6 Hours of Spa of the ‘Super Season’ next month.

Behind the scenes, even with much of its focus dedicated to launching its new Akula supercar, Ginetta has managed to make steps toward that goal. As a company, it is now in control of the ill-fated CEFC TRSM Racing entry, which suffered from funding issues that prevented the program from racing at the season opener last year, and appearing at all the rounds since the Le Mans 24 Hours.

As a result, Ginetta made moves to get a car on the grid for Spa, and filed an entry. However, the FIA WEC organizers refused the team an entry due to the fines for non-appearances at the rounds after Le Mans having not been paid by those in charge of the CEFC TRSM entry before Tomlinson and Ginetta took control.

That leaves Ginetta with few options, as it cannot enter a car as a one-off in the WEC’s LMP1 class by regulation. Ginetta was also not granted a Le Mans entry (under the CEFC TRSM banner), and it is understood that both G60-LT-P1s were put forward for the race in June ahead of the selection process.

“It is disappointing,” Tomlinson told RACER. “The reality is that the entry fees have been paid for both cars for the full season — a not inconsiderable amount of money.

“We’ve invested, very heavily, in this ruleset, and have stayed true to the regulations both with the cars and with the way in which the program has been conducted. The commercial issues were not of our making; we have simply tried to navigate around and through them to retain a competitive package for a successor customer.”

Since the G60-LT-P1s raced at Le Mans in 2018 (pictured above), a lot has changed. Both chassis have switched from Mecachrome to AER power after further development work late last year and earlier this year, the marque completing both tyre and engine tests.

Ginetta is confident that the car’s potential can be truly unlocked with the proven AER engine, which is also currently used by SMP Racing and its BR1 LMP1s.

“We want to show the potential of what we have to offer for customers and we are actively testing to be ready for any opportunity to be able to do so,” Tomlinson continued. “Ginetta have two very competitive AER-powered LMP1 cars ready to test and race immediately available for any team with an ability to run them properly.

“While running at Spa would have been a great shop window, from the regs it looks like LMP1 cars will run for at least two more years. I’d like to think that all involved can see the benefit of having more competitive cars on the LMP1 grid. We’re ready to go to Spa if a way can be found for that to happen.”

Alex Brundle, who raced the car at Le Mans last year and tested the car with AER power last August at Silverstone, echoed Tomlinson’s thoughts about the car’s potential.

“It was clear that the AER engine was a step forward at the test,” he explained. “It worked straight out of the box, which was impressive, and we managed a lot of running. We took it easy during the morning that day, before turning up the wick later on. The car had much better punch out of the corners and as a whole felt better.

“At Le Mans we were never really able to optimize the Mecachrome engine, and before that we, unfortunately, weren’t able to do enough testing because of the well-documented funding issues. There was certainly a fundamental power issue — we weren’t delivering the same level of engine performance compared to the other cars at Le Mans.

“Mecachrome are a great company, they’ve done great things in the past, but on that occasion we weren’t able to deliver the performance we needed to with that motor. That being said, a lot of progress was made at Silverstone — we were able to do a lot of evaluation work on both the AER engine and the chassis. The lap pace at Silverstone was very promising considering the condition of the track and the amount of running done with the car. Everyone left the test really heartened by the performance gain.”

Going forward, even with no entry for Spa, Ginetta is set to test the car at Aragon later this month, RACER understands that its in-house drivers Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson, along with former IndyCar driver James Jakes, will turn laps.

The hope is that a solution can be found beyond the ‘Super Season’ to get the cars racing, as there are at least two more years of eligibility left in the current LMP1 chassis since the ACO and FIA have committed to allowing grandfathered LMP1 cars into the first season under the new 2020 ‘Hypercar’ regulations.

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