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Toyota headline 10-strong LMP1 category

Toyota headline 10-strong LMP1 category
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We take a look in more detail at the 10 LMP1 entrants for the WEC Super Season, the top category led by Toyota Gazoo Racing’s two TS050 HYBRIDS.

There is huge variety on offer, with none of the six teams choosing to run with the same chassis/engine com

We take a look in more detail at the 10 LMP1 entrants for the WEC Super Season, the top category led by Toyota Gazoo Racing’s two TS050 HYBRIDS. There is huge variety on offer, with none of the six teams choosing to run with the same chassis/engine combination.  The LMP1 cars will all be Michelin-shod for the Super Season, but powered by five different engine suppliers including Toyota. Gibson, Nismo, Mecachrome and AER.

Toyota Gazoo Racing
No.7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID – Mike Conway (GBR), Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), José María López (ARG)
No.8 Toyota TS050 HYBRD – Sébastien Buemi (CHE), Kazuki Nakajima (JPN), Fernando Alonso (ESP)

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s commitment to the development of hybrid technology, and its dedication to making ever-better road cars using the knowledge and experience gained in the WEC, sees it extend its engagement in the World Endurance Championship for the full Super Season.

The Japanese manufacturer recently announced that Fernando Alonso would be joining the team for the duration, allowing the Spanish F1 champion to fulfil his desire to try and claim the Triple Crown in motorsport.  His presence alongside the existing, super-strong, international driver line up will undoubtedly attract a host of new fans and media interest.  He joins two other World Champions from other series – Lopez (WTCC) and Buemi (Formula E).

Did you know…Fernando Alonso will be the 21st F1 World Champion to race at Le Mans and the Spaniard is aiming to clinch the prestigious Triple Crown: the F1 world title, victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the Indianapolis 500 Miles. Only Graham Hill has achieved this incredible feat so far.

Rebellion Racing
No.1 Rebellion R13-Gibson – André Lotterer (DEU), Neel Jani (CHE), Bruno Senna (BRA)
No.3 Rebellion R13-Gibson – Thomas Laurent (FRA), Gustavo Menezes (USA), Mathias Beche (CHE)

The non-hybrid private teams include LMP2 2017 champion Rebellion Racing which is making a return to the top category with an ORECA-built Rebellion R13 in the hands of an impressive driver line up including two former World Champions, André Lotterer and Neel Jani, 2017 LMP2 Champion Bruno Senna and 2017 WEC Rookie of the Year and Asian Le Mans Series champion, Thomas Laurent.

The new Gibson LMP1 engine will be based upon its successful LMP2 powerplant. Design, development and production of the new GL458 are taking place at Gibson’s Repton facility in the UK.

Did you know…Rebellion team owner Alexandre Pesci’s favourite number is ’13’ and in the 10 years that Rebellion Racing has been in existence the number has always been at the forefront of its WEC entries!

ByKolles Racing Team
No.4 ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo – Oliver Webb (GBR), TBA, TBA 

ByKolles Racing Team has worked hard in the months since it last competed in the WEC to upgrade and develop its ENSO CLM P1/01.  The team’s Chief of Race Operations, Boris Bermes, says “Competition in LMP1 will be drastically different to previous years, given the withdrawal of Porsche and new private teams joining. We significantly changed and improved our package in recent months and our Enso CLM P1/01 car has been provided with extensively tested updates so that we can expect to be at the top in a competition which is becoming more and more exciting.”

Did you know… new Team Principal, Manfredi Ravetto, joins the LMP1 team having had involvement in all Colin Kolles-led projects, from F1 to DTM.

CEFC TRSM Racing
No.5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome – Charlie Robertson (GBR), TBA, TBA
No.6 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome – Oliver Rowland (GBR), TBA, TBA

The Chinese-entered, British-run CEFC TRSM Racing team (formerly Manor) moves up to LMP1 from LMP2 with two new Ginetta G60-LT-P1 prototypes, CEFC being the first customer for the British chassis manufacturer’s new prototype.

Announced so far for the driver line up are 2015 World Series by Renault 3.5 Champion and FIA Formula 2 race winner Oliver Rowland (25), who will be making his debut in endurance racing, and 2015 European LMP3 Champion Charlie Robertson (21) who is also a former Ginetta Junior former champion and test driver.

Mecachrome’s V634P1 LMP1 engine is a a 3.4-litre turbocharged V6 which includes a single turbo similar to the F2 engine Mecachrome has developed. To optimize the maximum output, direct injection will be installed for the LMP1 engine. The turbo, combustion chamber, piston and engine valve will also be modified.

Did you know…Charlie Robertson became ELMS champion alongside Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy.

DragonSpeed
No.10 BR Engineering BR1-Gibson – Henrik Hedman (SWE), Ben Hanley (GBR), Renger Van der Zande (NLD)

The Elton Julian-owned squad moves to the WEC after two seasons in the ELMS, latterly with a two-car ORECA 07 Gibson operation which allowed the team to capture the LMP2 championship under the G-Drive banner with Memo Rojas and Leo Roussel.

The American-flagged, French-based, team has taken on seasoned endurance driver, Renger van der Zande, pole winner at the recent Rolex 24 at Daytona, who will be making his WEC debut although he has made one start at Le Mans (2017). He will be alongside familiar WEC face, Ben Hanley, and another newcomer Henrik Hedman of Sweden.  The line up will campaign the Dallara-built
Did you know…Team boss Elton Julian is a former F3 race winner and F1 test driver, born in the Canary Islands. He grew up in Ecuador and the United States, and speaks English, French and Spanish fluently.  He competed in the 2012 FIA WEC with Greaves Motorsport in LMP2.

SMP Racing
No.11 BR Engineering BR1-AER – Mikhail Aleshin (RUS), TBA, TBA
No.12 BR Engineering BR1-AER – Vitaly Petrov (RUS), TBA, TBA

Another team with plenty of international interest is SMP Racing.  Russian-entered, using a car jointly developed by BR Engineering (owned by Boris Rotenberg who also owns SMP) and Italian constructor Dallara, trackside operations and race development will be in the hands of leading French team ART Grand Prix.

SMP Racing has WEC heritage in both LMP2 and LMGTE Am, winning the class title for the latter in 2015 with Aleksey Basov, Andrea Bertolini and Victor Shaytar.

Russian star drivers Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov will be representing their country in the SMP entries, with the remaining drivers still to be announced.

Did you know…SMP Racing’s LMP2 BR01 was the first Russian car to secure a podium place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2016).

Fiona MILLER

Source: http://www.fiawec.com

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