First-ever 'open source' race team offers opportunity for everyone to get involved in 2015 Le Mans race car project
13 Mar 2014
A new British race car constructor is offering members of the public a unique way to become involved in a project to develop, build and run a sports car which aims to compete at Le Mans in 2015. Through its interactive open source website, www.perrinn.com, students, schoolchildren, fans and engineers will, for the first time, have access to every element of the racing project including drawings, CAD model and even financial budgets. With everything from livery design and team wear right through to driver choice, suspension and aero data available on line, Perrinn myTeam’s pioneering approach will enable everybody to contribute no matter what their experience. So much data about the car will be available that it will even be possible to 3D print a model of the race car or download a version of the car to drive on the PC or simulator.
The novel project is the brainchild of Yorkshire-based race car designer Nicolas Perrin. Perrin, an engineer, who has worked in F1 and sports car racing, came up with the open source idea for the LMP1 racing car he designed as an alternative way to find backing for his £8.5 m project for the next two years. Unlike other open source ideas such as myfootballclub, Perrin’s myTeam is not crowd funded and is free for followers. Perrin hopes this alternative and interactive way of going racing will encourage sponsors and investors to back the project, who are particularly attracted by the unique opportunities it offers. myTeam is an innovative platform via which organisations can communicate their own values of openness and transparency as well as to engage with an enthusiastic community with a common goal.
“From my extensive time in F1 and even when I was designing sports cars for others, I saw how secretive motorsport really is, preventing fans, enthusiastic students and engineers from getting involved and learning,” says Perrin. “It doesn’t have to be like that. We can create a true ‘people’s team’ and by opening everything up, we aim to not only build up a fan base that gets involved to improve the car but also attract backers who share our values. We are not an established brand, so we have to do something different. This is a very different way but I believe we can, together get a result.”
With over 10 years’ experience of designing and engineering sports cars, Perrin has already been able to complete a full set of blueprints for his 4WD hybrid LMP1 challenger that would face Porsche, Audi and Toyota at Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship. Component drawings, CAD models and set up data will be available on the Perrinn myTeam site for to access and find areas for improvement that can be fed back to the team. As the project expands, Perrinn will release the commercial aspects including salaries, operating costs and strategies. “For too long motorsport has not embraced its fans nor nurtured future generations who want to work in motorsport to know what really goes in a team,” claims Perrin. “We can do things differently and show people what is really needed to get a car to Le Mans.”
Continuing the innovative approach and unlike other motorsport launches that take place at race tracks and auto shows, Perrinn myTeam will take its car direct to the public this summer, running a European tour that will see the car on show in London, Paris and Zurich before returning to Yorkshire for the Tour de France stage.
The unorthodox approach continues with rivals from other LMP teams as well as engineers in F1 expressing their support to Perrinn, believing it is time for a step change in how motorsport engages with its fans. “To date, everyone, including competitors has been hugely supportive and wants the project to proceed, believing it will help them to open up more and increase the appeal to their own fan bases,” adds Perrin.
The project has received substantial support from private investors to complete the design but Perrinn’s task now is to find backers who will enable him to build and test the first car by the end of 2014. “Our fully open book financial model shows we are looking for £2.5m in the first year. It is all planned and costed. At this stage everything is possible, including naming the car and team. Backers will have access to our sharing community and be part of a concept not seen anywhere else, I think that is very special.” concludes Perrin.
Full details can be found on the www.perrinn.com website.