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Country of origin:Russia
Produced in:2015
Numbers built:8
Designed by:Paolo Catone
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 03, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn 2013, wealthy Russian banker Boris Rotenberg established SMP Racing with furthering motorsport in the country in mind. In order to do so, the team represented the country in international racing and by fostering young talent. SMP Racing campaigned cars built by specialist manufacturers in GT and sports car events during the first two seasons. Ahead of the 2015 season, the team announced its intention to compete in LMP2 with a car purpose-built by the newly established BR Engineering company.

For the ambitious project, BR Engineering appointed Italian veteran designer Paolo Catone. On his resume were the Le Mans winning Peugeot 905 and 908, so he had the right credentials. Dubbed the BR01, the car was built to the existing regulations that included a cost-cap for the chassis and engine, and a minimum weight of 900 kg. The maximum dimensions were identical to those set for LMP1, so other manufacturers opted to develop one chassis that was fit for use in both categories.

Catone opted against this as LMP1 had a weight limit of 800 kg, which would have required the use of more exotic materials. This was a clear indication of the desire to produce cars for other customers and within the cost-cap as set in the regulations. The construction of many of the major components were outsourced and then assembled into a complete car at BR Engineering's factory in the south of France. The carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, for example was built by Italian specialists ARS Tech.

With the help of former Ferrari, Tyrrell and Renault engineer Jean-Claude Migeot, the BR01's aerodynamics were fine-tuned in his FondTech wind tunnel. Like all the Le Mans Prototypes of the era, the BR Engineering car was a Coupe. Compared to the more powerful 908 previously produced by Catone, the new LMP2 car did not produce the same level of downforce but was also considerably more efficient in terms of drag.

For the chassis design, Catone could start with a clean sheet and that was most obvious at the Peugeot 908-inspired front-end. The push-rod actuated coil springs and dampers were mounted inside the tub instead of on top as they were on most LMP2 cars of the day. This made for a much cleaner design and explained in part why the car proved so efficient. The rear end also featured push-rod actuated coil springs and dampers, which were placed on top of the bell-housing.

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  Article Image gallery (19) 004 Specifications