Batley-born businessman and motorsport boss Lawrence Tomlinson is eyeing up a return to Le Mans.

The entrepreneur, whose accolades include an honorary doctorate from Huddersfield University, was a winner at the celebrated track in 2006 and continues to drive competitively today.

Now the chairman of Leeds-based LNT Group plans to return to the famous French circuit in a new race class aimed at young and “gentlemen” drivers by purchasing sports car manufacturer Juno.

Mr Tomlinson, who trained as an engineer at Huddersfield Technical College and worked at turbocharger firm Holset during his early career, will combine Juno with his own sports car business, Ginetta, to develop a new race car, the Ginetta-Juno LMP3.

The vehicle will make its debut in the new LMP3 class as part of the European and Asian Le Mans Series (ELMS and ALMS) in 2015.

Said Mr Tomlinson: “Le Mans holds a special place in my heart and it is with great pleasure I can achieve my goal of taking Ginetta-Juno into ELMS and ALMS, with a broader plan of competing in a Ginetta at the Le Mans 24hrs.

“There is definitely a market for an affordable top-tier sports car and I have no doubt our innovative new partnership will be a winning combination.”

Motorsport body the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and Ginetta are working together to enable teams, drivers and manufacturers to hone their skills and progress into top-level racing. The LMP3 class complements the existing Ginetta motorsport classes, which offer drivers the opportunity to progress into ACO events.

Lawrence Tomlinson, who has been appointed to the board of directors of the British Racing Drivers Club
 

To make racing accessible to more people, the ACO has strict rules which set a cap on budgets for manufacturing – reducing running costs in terms of spare parts, support and personnel.

The Ginetta-Juno LMP3 – now being developed at Ginetta’s Leeds factory – will use a powerful regulated V8 engine, running at about 420bhp. The rules still allow freedom with respect to the design and development of the aerodynamics, styling and chassis.

Ewan Baldry, Juno founder and now Ginetta technical director, previously worked as a design engineer with Williams F1 before setting up Juno in the early 2000s.

He said: “Lawrence has clearly demonstrated his commitment to success having already taken Ginetta from a small manufacturer to a worldwide renowned motorsport player and it is fantastic to be part of his vision for the future.”

And he added: “We are very confident the Ginetta-Juno LMP3 car will be a force to be reckoned with and clearly it provides another option for the drivers progressing through Ginetta’s already established route to the top.”

Juno, based at Leyland, Lancashire, is regarded as one of the UK’s most progressive constructors of racing cars, specialising in sports prototypes. Its cars have won championships around the world.

Mr Tomlinson bought Ginetta in 2005 and has expanded the business to build a range of race cars and road cars. Ginetta has raced at Le Mans – with Mr Tomlinson himself winning the GT2 class in 2006 in a Panoz Esperante.

A "rendering" of the Ginetta-Juno LMP3 being developed by Lawrence Tomlinson's Leeds-based company