LMP1 hits and misses

It wasn’t just the big four brands that proved memorable in the top class 

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LMP1 hits

Pescarolo 01

The Pescarolo 01 was arguably the first accessible P1. Henri Pescarolo became a constructor for 2007, creating a car designed to be sold to customers for either LMP1 or LMP2. It looked great, had great liveries, finished on the podium during its Le Mans debut in 2007, and raced until 2015, by then badged as a Morgan.

Lola Aston Martin B09/60

A rule tweak to allow the use of production engines in LMP1 led to the marriage of Lola’s B08/60 chassis with Aston’s six-litre V12 from the DBR9. Being petrol-powered it would never realistically challenge the diesels, but the best did finish fourth at Le Mans in 2009. Regardless, name a better looking, or sounding, P1 car…

Bentley Speed 8

Crewe and Norfolk’s answer to Audi’s juggernaut, and it was far more than just a modified R8C. Racing Technology Norfolk may have started out with an Audi platform, but what it rolled out was far more Flying B than four rings. The Speed 8 was unstoppable at Le Mans in 2003, taking pole and a one-two finish.

 

LMP1 misses

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

The front-engined GT-R LM Nismo was first shown off in a TV advert during Superbowl XLIX. However, the self-styled ‘LMP1 Bad Boy’ turned out to be just bad. The car was beset by issues, had no working hybrid, wayward handling and boiled its brakes. Two cars retired and the third wasn’t classified at Le Mans in 2015.

Aston Martin AMR-One

Perhaps the worst manufacturer sports car programme ever? Aston tried an in-house design for 2011. It made three carbon tubs and its own 2-litre turbo straight six. The engine lacked power and rattled itself to bits. They qualified behind the LMP2s in 2011 and did a combined six laps before both were retired and scrapped.

Dome S102

Supposed to be Japan’s glorious return to Le Mans, but turned out to be rather underwhelming. The 2008 S102 had some trick bits and was expected to get among the diesels in qualifying, but was over eight seconds off. During the race it endured multiple accidents and glitches, but still somehow managed to finish.