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  Pilbeam MP93 JPX

  Article Image gallery (12) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2005
Designed by:Mike Pilbeam
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 29, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionLike many of his contemporaries, Mike Pilbeam entered the world of motorsport with a '1172 Clubman' racer of his own design. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Clubman class was particularly popular with the cars combining a simple chassis with many production bits and pieces. Pilbeam's efforts were noticed by the industry and before he started his own company in 1975 he had been employed by among others Lotus and BRM as a designer. While concentrating on hillclimb racers, Pilbeam Racing Design also constructed a variety of other sports cars and single seaters, and assisted many other companies with their racing exploits.

By the turn of the century the specialized British company had over 20 UK hillclimb titles under their belt. It was time for a new challenge and in their state of the art facility work was started on developing a prototype racer eligible for the FIA World Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Purely a customer car, it was designed for the entry-level SR2 class, which only allowed for aluminium monocoque chassis. In this specification the Pilbeam MP84 could also run in the LMP675 class at Le Mans, but had a considerable performance deficit compared to the carbon fibre monocoque LMP675 cars. Regardless, the MP84 and the subsequent MP91 derivative proved highly successful in the SR2 class and even scored class wins in LMP675 and LMP2.

When the SR2 class was abandoned, the small Pilbeams were left to run against the much faster LMP2 cars in 2004. To give their customers a chance to be in serious contention for class wins, Pilbeam set out to design one of their ambitious cars to date. Dubbed the MP93, the somewhat unusual looking LMP2 came complete with an all new carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis. The very low car featured some striking details like the bold front splitter and the circular radiator exits on the sides. Under the carbon skin things are a bit more conventional with double wishbone suspension all-round and optional carbon fibre discs. The engine of choice for the first car was the wide angle JPX V6 engine that was also used in the SR2 cars in previous years. It was later replaced, by the more reliable Judd V8.

Pierre Bruneau's PIR Competition took delivery of the first car in time for the Le Mans Test Day early in June 2005. Engine problems brought the test to a premature halt, but the three drivers were impressed with how easy the car was to drive. While leading the race, the clutch started to slip and eventually the car was forced to retire. With a new engine and renewed confidence, PIR started the 2006 season off with the official Le Mans Series test at Paul Ricard. In the season opener at Istanbul, the team's high expectations were met with a second place finish in class. The Istanbul result could not be matched in the very eventful Spa 1000 km a month later, but nonetheless the team should go to Le Mans in good spirits.

Featured is the PIR Competition Pilbeam MP93 in its JPX powered guise at the 2005 Le Mans Test Day and Monza 1000 km.

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  Article Image gallery (12) Specifications