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Ewan Baldry Talks LMP3 to LMP1 in 36 Months

21st March 2018 • Ruth Harrison-Davies

Three years ago this week, our Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson completed the roll out of the world’s first LMP3 car at Leeds East Airport. Now, just 36 months later, the team at Ginetta HQ are in the middle of an intensive LMP1 test programme ahead of our debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship next month.

With Lawrence out of the country, we managed to grab a quick five minutes with Ewan Baldry, our Technical Director, for a chat on how far our Yorkshire brand has come in just a short space of time. Because let’s face it, Team Ginetta aren’t ones to do things by halves.

Looking back at that very first roll out of the Ginetta LMP3, Ewan explained; “With the LMP3 Project, everything was still so new to us. We had a relatively small design team, one which grew rapidly, I didn’t really know Lawrence, I’d never had to design a car that had to go through a crash test and to top it off we signed national treasure Sir Chris Hoy to race the car as part of the in-house ELMS entry. So, it’s safe to say it was a pretty nerve-wracking time.

It was around this time of the year and the first round of ELMS was getting closer and closer, and it was at Silverstone (which added even more pressure) and we’d had a bulk of orders for the first round. When we announced what we were doing, even people around the factory were asking ‘is this really possible?’

Lawrence isn’t the type of person who commits to something unless he knows we can do it. That’s the great thing about Ginetta though; we are a fairly small team but everyone comes to work with a ‘can-do’ attitude and just gets the job done. Sometimes it seems as if everything is at a million miles per hour, but that’s what makes this such a brilliant place to work.”

Ewan isn’t afraid to admit that he’s the oldest member of his design team, which is now five times larger than it was when he started, a team which is bolstered by a growing technical team. In the three years since that momentous roll out of the world’s very first LMP3 car, the Ginetta boffins have designed and built the G57, remastered it into the G58 and delivered on an LMP1 project. They are also able to take on any motorsport or sports car design - whether petrol, electric or hybrid - with driver or without.

Given that most of the staff working alongside Ewan are in their thirties (or below) this is the stuff young engineers’ dreams are made of. The small team means each and every one of them get to see their ideas in production, which is a career opportunity you would struggle to find elsewhere in the UK.   

Naturally Ewan credits the driving force, Lawrence Tomlinson, as the man who makes it all possible; “LT is the main driver (pardon the pun) behind Ginetta. He’s unique in that respect as he has the knowledge, the passion and the business to be able to make these projects happen. The people who work for him are given opportunities which they wouldn’t get in many other places, and that is an exciting thing to be a part of. There are other approaches, where you have a huge team working on a single project, but I think that takes away some of the appeal of Ginetta. Part of the fun is challenging yourself.”

Recent weeks have been filled with Ewan travelling across Europe to various tests with the new G60-P1-LT, but he still shares the same level of excitement at seeing his brainchild taking to the track for it’s very first tests. Although Ewan actually missed the very first run of the P1 as he was on his way back from the chassis crash test, he did make it in time to witness the rest of that initial test.

“The thing that excites me the most about my job is having an idea, seeing it virtually come to life on a computer, then seeing the raw materials arriving. Then you start to see your idea turn into something you can actually grab and hold. There’s absolutely no feeling at all like when you see a car drive away under its own steam for the very first time when you’ve had an involvement – no matter how big or small – in its creation. That’s what this job is all about for me.

The questions now have shifted from ‘Will it be ready?’ to ‘Will it be reliable?’ ‘Will it be successful?’ ‘What will people think?’ ‘Will it be fast?’ You spend a couple of sleepless nights wondering about the answers, and then you head to Argon and you get the answers. So far we’ve had some pretty good answers.”

Ewan’s latest creation will be on show to the public at the WEC Prologue next month, and after that, Spa and then the biggest race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours. When we asked how he was feeling he said; “Incredible! Why not take a car from an idea to the Le Mans 24 Hour grid in just over a year? Why wouldn’t you do it? It might seem like a crazy thing to do, but let’s do it!”

Is it just us, or can you simply not wait?

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