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Customer LMP1 From 2014

The Potential Players Emerge

Whilst much of the attention over 2013 and 2014 has so far centred on the three confirmed  (or near confirmed) factory teams: Audi, Toyota and returning giants Porsche, there is an assembling cast developing that could provide a more than reasonable support act on the global stage provided by the FIA WEC.

As always the programmes below come with plenty of caveats, budgets, timelines and more or less everything else are infinitely variable and questionable these days.

Recent days have seen a pair of potential new cars emerge with Dome showing off a 2014 spec coupe dubbed the S103.

Whilst clear styling cues carry over from the previous S102, last raced at Le Mans in 2012  in revised S102.5 firm by the late and very great Pescarolo Team, the car features radically revised aero and has already benefitted from an intensive design process, including wind tunnel work with a large scale model.

And there's a link between the Dome and the progenitor of another new for 2014 design, Pescarolo Team ran a second car at Le Mans in 2012, designed by ex Williams F1 man Nicolas Perrin.  The Aston Martin AMR One tubbed Pescarolo 03 was a spectacular failure but that was more likely down to late arrival of funding and pretty much everything else than to something more profound.

Fast forward a year and Perrin's almost self-named consultancy are offering a 2014 spec LMP1 coupe design under the Perrinn banner.

The Perrinn is a conventional looking machine with the required aero and cockpit changes from the current breed apparently rather neatly executed.

Unsurprisingly for such a potentially expensive piece of kit the car does not yet exist outside the virtual realm but Perrin talks a good fight in explaining that this is a near production ready programme.

Oak Racing's associated Onroak Automotive concern are another outfit with a coupe design ready to roll.

Insiders say the car is fully designed with extensive wind tunnel testing of a smaller scale model already completed. Whether though the famously sporting Jacques Nicolet can or will fund the car to production is a much bigger question.

The job of finding a worthy and willing industry partner to bring the project to the track is down to none other than Olivier Quesnel, signed by Oak as the dust settled from the cancelled Peugeot LMP1 programme he previously headed.

There's no news yet of potential engine suppliers for any of the three cars named above though it would be a smart bet that all three have left the options on that front wide open from everything from the current V8s through to the coming 'global' turbo fours, with or without customer spec 'bolt on' hybrid systems.

That brings in another question, powerplants.  And at least one established player in that market is reported to be well advanced with the development of an all new engine package, purpose designed for the customer LMP1 market - These guys are seeing potential somewhere.

One potential programme that most certainly does have an engine supplier in mind is the Nick Wirth designed coupe alluded to by the man himself after the 2014 regulations were announced.

Rumours abound about the current status of this project with one source suggesting that a deal is in place for a very high profile team to run a pair of these cars, with HPD power, in the 2014 WEC.  That story is very much unconfirmed and Wirth Research were saying nothing today, tantalisingly though they referred our enquiry to HPD.

We're waiting on an opportunity to chat to HPD's Steve Eriksson to find out whether more information is available but the detail relayed to the DSC Ed some weeks ago makes it a mouthwatering proposition if true!

Add to all of that a further programme that we believe is now set to be announced around or at the Le Mans Test Day in under a fortnight and there is plenty to keep the rumour mill grinding for some time to come.

That still leaves one question unanswered though, and its a big one - Who might run any or all of these cars?

One thing is for sure, a 2014 LMP1 won't be cheap, industry insiders are talking of a massive uplift in purchase cost from the current crop of customer packages.

The programmes above range, at present from the definite, the potential and the speculative - The future of LMP1 outside the factory ranks looks set to be decided over the next few months.