Carlin Motorsport has announced its LMP2 programme for the 2019 season as it joins the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) grid.

With an extensive experience in the single-seater championships, Carlin will now expand into sportscar racing with the announcement of the team joining the ELMS grid in the LMP2 category from the 2019 season onward.

The British team will use the Dallara P217 prototype and has revealed 20-year-old Jack Manchester – who races in the Blancpain GT – as its first driver signing. The full driver line-up for 2019 will be revealed at a later stage.

The team will use its workshop at Farnham to work on the car. It states that an expansion into Asian Le Mans series is a possibility. “The whole team are very excited about our move into LMP2,” said team boss, Trevor Carlin, upon the announcement.

“It’s an exciting category and a move that we’ve been assessing for a while. We see a lot of great drivers now move up the single-seater ranks and aim for professional drives in endurance racing rather than Formula 1, which shows the high respect this category of racing is held.

“For us, it’s another opportunity to hold onto and work with some great former Carlin drivers who are now at the professional level. In Jack, we have a very promising young British driver, right at the start of his career.

“We’re excited to work with him further and help him show his potential in LMP2.” Further details will be announced in due course of time. While this is Carlin’s first endurance programme, it has raced with roof-top cars when it entered 2001 Porsche Supercup series.

As Trevor said in this announcement quote, they have been long asked if the team will ever compete in F1 especially when they joined America’s IndyCar series, but with the expenses quite high in the category, they have long evaded joining F1.

With them joining the sportscar racing scene, it has opened up gates for several young drivers racing for them at junior levels where if they cannot make it to F1, they have an option to join its LMP2 programme in a bid to become professional racers.

Check out the full entry list for 2019