On Tuesday, 10Star DragonSpeed announced their intentions to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class in 2018 with an unknown chassis. Wednesday morning saw Manor Endurance Racing announce that they will join them. They’ll be making the move with the new Ginetta LMP1 chassis. Power will be provided by a Mecachrome 3.4-liter V6 turbo engine.
Mecachrome may be an unfamiliar name to many race fans, but it has a long history in motorsports. The company is best known in racing for their longtime relationship with Renault. Renault engines in Formula One dating back to the late 1970’s have been assembled by Mecachrome. After Renault pulled out of F1 following the 1997 season, Williams ran the 1998 season with de-badged engines using the Mecachrome name. Benetton ran similar engines that season, but they were badged as “Playlife” engines after an Benetton-owned fashion company.
CEFC Manor TRS Racing founder and Team Principal John Booth is very excited about the move.
“We are very happy to be entering the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship,” Booth stated. “We have been learning this championship for the last two years and we are confident that the time is now right for us to step-up to the LMP1 category. We have known the people at Ginetta for many years and we believe that, working together, we will be able to develop a competitive LMP1 package.”
Ginetta Cars Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson is very pleased to have CEFC Manor TRS Racing as the launch customer for the new Ginetta LMP1 car.
“I am delighted with the confirmation of the selection by TRS Racing and Manor Endurance Racing of the Ginetta LMP1 for their program,” Tomlinson said. “The opportunities for all involved here are tremendous, for Ginetta, for the team, and for their backers. To take on endurance racing at this level is one of the toughest technical challenges in the world. It’s great to have a racing partner who relishes those challenges just as much as we do.”
In 2017, Manor Endurance Racing, operating under the title of CEFC Manor TRS Racing, has field two ORECA 07-Gibsons in the WEC’s LMP2. The No. 24 entry has generally been the faster of the two entries, despite the fact that no one has driven the No. 24 in all eight races. Six different drivers have shared the car with former Scuderia Toro Rosso racer Jean-Eric Vergne driving the most (seven races, only missing the Nürburgring). Matthew Rao, who drove the first four races in Signatech Alpine Matmut’s Alpine A470-Gibson, is the highest Manor driver in the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Drivers Trophy standings in seventh. The team’s best finish has been a third at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. In that race, it was Rao, Vergne and Ben Hanley driving.
In contrast, the No. 25 entry has had a steady driving lineup of Roberto González, Vitaly Petrov and Simon Trummer for the whole season. However, the team has struggled to post decent results. With three seventh-place finishes (Silverstone, the Nürburgring and Fuji), the trio is currently joint 19th in driver points.
No announcements have been made regarding who will be driving the new Manor Ginetta LMP1 chassis, or even how many cars the team will field next season. Since the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship doesn’t start until May, there is still plenty of time to flesh out the remaining details.