BR Engineering switches to Dunlop tyres for Paul Ricard ELMS

The new BR Engineering LMP2 coupes are running on Dunlop rather than Michelin tyres at this weekend's Paul Ricard round of the European Le Mans Series

BR Engineering switches to Dunlop tyres for Paul Ricard ELMS

The two BRE-Nissan BR01s, which are now racing under the banner of AF Racing rather than SMP Racing, will compete on Dunlop rubber to "give the best possible idea of the competitiveness of the car", explained BR Engineering managing director Benjamin Durand.

"As a manufacturer we want to try every possibility and maybe we will put a Judd/BMW engine in the car in the future," he said.

Durand would not discuss the name change, but said that the reasons were "obvious".

SMP Bank, from which SMP Racing takes it name, is on the US Treasury international sanctions list and Dunlop is owned by US tyre giant Goodyear.

AF Racing started the Paul Ricard meeting today having previously tested on 2013-spec Dunlops at the French track two weeks ago, although the car had run on this year's tyres in the hands of the Murphy Prototypes team at Monteblanco during the summer break in the ELMS.

Team boss Greg Murphy, whose squad runs an ORECA 03R in the series, said he had undertaken the test, which was attended by some of BRE's regular drivers and team personnel, because it was "a window of opportunity to work with another constructor".

Mikhail Aleshin ended up fastest in first free practice in the best of the BR01s with a 1m47.986s, which stood as the third fastest time of the day after the second of the two 90-minute sessions.

There is no decision on whether the cars will return to Michelins for the series finale at Estoril in October, according to Durand, although he said that it "wouldn't make sense to switch back to Michelins".

Durand revealed that BR Engineering was still in negotiation with potential customers for the BR1 coupe, despite the company missing out in the tender process to become one of the four constructors allowed to build LMP2 machinery when new rules come into force for 2017.

"We are still talking to people, although not being selected has slowed things down," he said.

"The car can still be raced for three seasons in the ELMS [because it will be grandfathered to race on in 2017-18] and four in the Asian Le Mans Series, maybe more."

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