Bits of LMP – Jan. 14th

It’s still early days in 2017 but huge movements can be seen between the teams that will race in the FIA WEC and ELMS, although not everything is exactly good news.

Manor in LMP1 is a possibility

After what can be considered a satisfying debut year in the LMP2 class in FIA WEC, Manor’s Graeme Lowdon said that there is the possibility for the squad to step up into the LMP1 category for 2018, although it’s still unconfirmed if it will be an effort of their own or a partnership with a constructor. Lowdon admitted that the limit of constructors and the ties that bind the current LMP2 regulations don’t make the class that attractive in a market standpoint, which is why an adventure in LMP1 is justifiable.

One of the ways to look for Manor may be the new Ginetta LMP1 model that is confirmed to be built for the 2018 FIA WEC season with huge plans for customer racing by the British manufacturer.

United Autosports announces LMP2 plans

United Autosports already confirmed that it would step up to the LMP2 class after a successful 2016 season with LMP3 machinery in the European Le Mans Series, but now more details come to light, as the already expected Ligier JS P17 that the team will use was revealed in their traditional colors, with the unmistakable anglo-american details right in front.

Also almost the whole lineup was confirmed for the ELMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with two youngsters coming from the single seater world to the prototypes, being them Hugo de Sadeleer from Switzerland and the American Will Owen. The team is still looking for an experienced driver to add to these two, with the most interesting possibility for them being Alex Brundle, who performed brilliantly with United Autosports in LMP3 and also with G-Drive Racing in LMP2 on FIA WEC.

WRT still not returning to the prototypes

WRT is well known for mounting huge programs in the GT3 scene, always having at least two or three entries than can fight for overall wins, but last year the Belgian team expanded their operations by joining the TCR International Series under the name of Leopard Racing and a one-off adventure in ELMS with a Ligier JS P2-Judd, being extremely competitive against the hordes of proven full season packages with Nissan engines mounted at their rear ends.

Their podium finish raised some chances of a full season LMP2 effort but this week the team boss Vincent Vosse said that this is now on standby as they couldn’t find the necessary budget for the season, and that WRT wouldn’t make a program like this without proper financial and sporting conditions that would let them fight for class wins.

Vosse also added that should they return to LMP2, it would immediately be with Onroak Automotive and the new Ligier JS P217 due to their good relationship with the organization led by Jacques Nicolet. Between the WRT roster, Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens had their Ligier debut last year, with former WRT man Laurens Vanthoor having previous experience prior to the WRT entry.

PHOTOS: Manor, United Autosports, WRT