The Perfect Partnership
How a unique partnership between two UK motorsport titans created ‘the world’s most reliable motorsport engine’.
• Gibson / GW engines took ‘world first’ podiums at Le Mans in June 2017
• Of 25 LMP2 vehicles powered by Gibson / GW engines, 21 completed the circuit (four retirements were due to non-engine related issues)
• In total, the 4.2 litre GK428 V8 engines covered a distance of 143,440.03 kms in 719.5hrs
Lennon & McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Morecambe & Wise. All great duos that have pushed the boundaries in their respective fields. When it comes to motorsport, the names of Grainger & Worrall and Gibson Technology should surely be up there to embody reliability and high performance – thanks to their remarkable achievement at Le Mans this June.
While most experts anticipated overall podium places for the big names from the LMP1 class (Porsche and Toyota), few predicted that a team from the less affluent LMP2 ranks would ever ruffle feathers and give their far more wealthy competition a run for their money. After all, an LMP2 engine had never previously even led a race or taken a podium overall.
That all changed in 2017, when Jackie Chan DC Racing, run by Jota Sport took second and third on the overall podium in their Oreca-Gibson #38 and #37 cars, respectively. The Gibson / GW engines also helped the cars achieve first and second places in the LMP2 class.
While this represented a huge victory for the LMP2 teams, it also validated the importance of long-term partnerships in motorsport.
John Manchester, Gibson Technology’s operations director, said: “Completing Le Mans with a total of seven of the top ten positions was a massive achievement for all concerned. While the drivers and race teams did an amazing job to take on some of the biggest names in endurance racing, the sheer resilience and reliability of the GW cast engine was a major contributing factor that cannot be overstated.
“Our collaboration with GW goes back years and demonstrates how UK engineering businesses can work together in true partnership to deliver world-class results. Without our shared ‘can do’ cultures, commitment to new technologies and close co-operative ethos, we could never have created an engine that has proven so remarkable.”
Engine manufacturer Gibson Technology was chosen by the FIA/ACO as the single engine supplier for LMP2 class sportscars from 2017 to 2020. Gibson designed, developed and manufactured the 4.2 litre GK428 V8 engine, supplying all LMP2 teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Le Mans 24 Hours, the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the Asian Le Mans Series (from 2019 onwards) and teams in the Weathertech IMSA Series in the USA. Gibson engines are installed in the FIA/ACO approved chassis manufacturers Dallara, Onroak (Ligier), ORECA and Riley Multimatic.
This year saw the largest ever number of Gibson engines on the LMP2 grid at Le Mans, a record 25 cars powered by Gibson engines, in total supplying and supporting 19 different teams. This is an amazing achievement for the UK manufacturer, with its GK428 engines making their Le Mans debut.
During the world-famous endurance race, the performance of the Gibson engines was unprecedented, with reliability second-to-none, especially given the extreme temperatures and conditions. An impressive 21 out of the 25 Gibson-powered LMP2s finished the 24 hours, with the four retirements unrelated to engine issues.
Throughout Le Mans race week, and during the 24 hour race itself, Gibson engines covered a total of 143,440.03 kms, equating to an impressive 719 hours and 27 minutes.
Founder of Gibson Technology, Bill Gibson, added a final note on the reliability of their engines. “During Le Mans, our engines travelled the equivalent of three and a half times round the world without any issues, demonstrating how incredibly reliable they are. This was made possible through engineering excellence and the power of collaboration, setting a new precedent for motorsport engines.”