Plenty of things happened this week in the prototype world, including especially the new LMP2 regulations for 2017, which raised some eyebrows from the ACO members, a new path for Nic Minassian and the awaited car announcement from Rebellion Racing.
Minassian wants to be the boss
After some good years behind the Peugeot LMP1 program and also driving for SMP Racing in both their ORECAs and in the BR Engineering machines, Nicolas Minassian is considering the possibility of creating his own team, much like what Fabien Barthez did alongside Olivier Panis.
According to interview to Endurance-Info, Minassian told that the idea has several years and he would like to give his input in other aspects than driving. Discussions seem to be going ahead with an unnamed gentleman driver and the machinery decision would be down to two constructors for the LMP2 class, with the European Le Mans Series being the competition in the radar to enter and aspirations to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Rebellion Racing goes as ORECA as expected
The news of Rebellion Racing leaving the privateer LMP1 class were a massive shock for the FIA WEC fans, as they announced the switch to the LMP2 category from 2017 onwards. The not so surprising part was that thanks to their link with ORECA in the build of their current prototype, the Rebellion R-One, the Swiss team announced that they will have a pair of the new ORECA 07 model to race, although it isn’t determined at the moment where they will race, with a FIA WEC return being a possibility along with competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship or in the European Le Mans Series.
It’s simply too fast, guys
The new LMP2 crop is generating the same concerns about speed as the factory LMP1 when they destroyed the Le Mans lap record a few years ago, but these concerns are more focused on how will the gentlemen drivers cope with the heavily increased performance of the new machinery.
The cars are already under testing, and it’s estimated through simulation that the times could go down by 4 seconds in traditional circuits and until 10 seconds at Le Mans, practically what the Audi LMP1 cars were lapping ten years ago. This would be too much too handle for the amateur side of the enforced Pro-Am class, not only putting less experienced drivers in more risk in terms of safety, but also taking a bit of the competition out, so FIA and ACO are with the possibility of performance reduction in mind.
At the moment both the ACO President, Pierre Fillion, and the FIA WEC boss, Gerard Neveu, said that they are watching the situation carefully and both declared that it’s better to wait for more information about the cars, and if the concerns are confirmed, changes in the regulation will happen.
PHOTOS: SMP Racing, Rebellion Racing, ORECA