The top-tier, LMP1 prototype class in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) is an increasingly lonely one, with the departures of factory teams such as Porsche leaving Toyota as the sole manufacturer-backed entry contesting the championship next year. This leaves a larger window of opportunity for privateer outfits such as Russian firm BR Engineering, which has unveiled its LMP1 contender the BR1 at the recent 6 Hours of Bahrain season finale.

Work on the BR1 racer started almost exactly one year ago at the final round of the 2016 WEC, when BR Engineering and racing chassis specialist Dallara announced their agreement. The roster of development drivers included Renault F1 reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, IndyCar series driver Mikhail Aleshin, Le Mans class winner Victor Shaitar, 13-time karting champion and Le Mans podium finisher Kirill Ladygin and former Renault F1 and Caterham F1 driver Vitaly Petrov.

“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,” said founder and chief of BR Engineering Boris Rotenberg.

The carbon-fibre monocoque BR1 has provision for a choice of engines, namely an AER twin-turbo V6 with 720 hp, or a Gibson V8 engine producing 700 hp. Either powerplant is internal combustion only, and will be paired with a six-speed paddle-shift Xtrac sequential transmission driving the rear wheels, through a mechanical limited-slip differential.

Other running gear include Brembo LMP1 carbon brakes, Kayaba electric power steering, and bespoke OZ magnesium wheels.

The commencement of the 2018-2019 WEC ‘superseason’ will see the merging of hybrid and non-hybrid LMP1-class contenders, so privateer entries such as BR Engineering are in with a chance at winning the top WEC crown. Without electrification, it loses out on a four-figure horsepower output figure of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, for example. How do you fancy the newcomer’s chances?