Saturday 18 November 2017

FIA WEC: BR1/Dallara LMP1 presented in Bahrain yesterday

Exactly one year after BR Engineering announced its plans to build a new LMP1 racecar in conjunction with Dallara, its BR1 has been presented in the Bahrain paddock yesterday. The BR1 is the first of the new LMP1 prototypes that officially breaks cover ahead of the 2018/2019 FIA WEC super season. 

Boris Rotenberg, president of BR Engineering unveiled the car together with test drivers Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.  Rotenberg praised the hard work that has been done in the past 365 days by chassis builders Dallara in conjunction with Russian engineers and students of techincal universities who participated in the deveopment of the prototype:  “The significant fact is that we’d announced the agreement between BR Engineering and Dallara to start working on the BR1 prototype exactly a year ago on November the 17, during the FIA WEC 2016 final round. Today we are honoured and pleased to present you the result of these 365 days of hard work. Having the best racing car production experience and the achievements of one of the best companies – Dallara. As well as Russian experts and SMP Racing drivers Vitaly Petrov, Sergey Sirotkin, Mikhail Aleshin, Victor Shaitar, Kirill Ladygin took part at different stages of the car’s development. The drivers worked on the simulator and their task was to make their professional suggestions into key aspects of the prototype development - from ergonomics to the car’s behavior on the track." 

© BR Engineering

The car arrived in Bahrain straight from its initial test in Aragon, Spain earlier this week.  During its 2 day rollout Petrov & co managed to run over 1000 km already which is pretty impressive for a first real test of new car.  Petrov said the car felt really good from the beginning and they just wanted to keep on running, despite the engineers calling them to ease up a bit. 

BR Engineering has an impressive line-up of test drivers who will continue to work on the development of the car. Mikhail Aleshin stepped out of his Indycar program to develop the BR1 and is joined by former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov, Sergey Sirotkin and LMP stalwarts Victor Shaytar & Kirill Ladigin.  It's expected that the BR1 which will run under the SMP Racing flag, with support of ART Grand Prix will feature an all Russian driver line-up.  Testing will resume as soon as possible when the car gets back in Europe. 

The BR1 has a weight of approximately 930 kg and will be powered by a twin turbo AER V6 engine with a power output of 720 hp.  It's also possible to fit other engines like the Mechachrome (which well feature in some of the Ginetta LMP1's), the new Gibson engine or other manufacturers.

The AER engine has also been introduced yesterday, in the wake of the BR1 presentation. The engine is the successor to the successful P60 LMP1-L engine, and features substantial technical upgrades. Like its predecessor, the new P60B is a very compact, lightweight twin-turbocharged GDI V6 and specifically designed for peak fuel optimization and the FIA WEC in the LMP1-L class.

“AER’s LMP1 engine has been in a state of constant development since its inception in 2013,” said Mark Ellis, the company’s technical director, noting that AER have gained huge experience from testing, racing, and dynamometer development in the past three years. “But the specific, integrated package of upgrades we’ve been working on since this past January represents a sufficient step forward that it warrants the change in nomenclature. The P60B incorporates improvements that make it a step up from the P60 in terms of both performance and reliability that’s required for continued success in endurance racing.” According to Ellis the most prominent of the optimised component specifications include implementation of updates to the high-pressure fuel system, cylinder head casting, scavenge system/oil tank, ignition system and engine calibration. “Following impressive dyno test results, the first P60B was delivered to a customer last month,” Ellis said. “AER have since built several P60Bs in support of track-testing, as well as the 2018-2019 racing super season.”

Ellis noted that as a complement to endurance track-testing, AER is undertaking constant in-house dynamometer testing that substantially exceeds the demands of the Le Mans 24-hour race’s duration.

Mike Lancaster, AER’s Managing Director, noted the larger technical and organisational context of the introduction of the P60B. “This has been done in parallel with heavy investment in AER’s facilities in 2017, and in support of AER’s planned and future racing activities. All of our clients are now benefiting from this program and those benefits will only increase with the passage of time.”

Kristof Vermeulen.