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ALMS team eyes IndyCar
Duncan Dayton
ALMS team Highcroft Racing boss Duncan Dayton told SPEEDTV.com, “It’s a bit premature to formally announce anything, but I will say we’ve always had our eye on the IndyCar Series. When Acura withdrew from the ALMS LMP1 program at the end of last year, we realized we needed to broaden our horizons and to consider something beyond the ALMS. The ALMS is our primary focus; we believe it’s the most demanding proving grounds of any series in North America or the world, for that matter, given the technology that manufacturers can bring to bear. The rather unregulated rulebook is very appealing to us, but the idea of participating in the IRL and the Indy 500 is something that is also important to us.”

“We are aware that Penske and Ganassi have had almost a decade with the current cars and have built amazing ‘cookbooks’ of knowledge and setup info, so I think it would be difficult, at best, to be competitive straight away [next year]. We’d stand a better chance with the new car in 2012. We’d still be behind the 8-ball against these guys even then, but nonetheless, we’d probably have a better chance of success by starting from scratch like everyone else. Our primary focus for 2011 will be the ALMS, but we’re striving towards doing a couple of one-offs in IndyCar next year.”

“Having Highcroft in the IZOD IndyCar Series would not only be a compliment, it would be an honor," IndyCar boss Randy Bernard told SPEETV.com.  "They are exactly the type of organization that we want in IndyCar; I’ve always said that we want the best of the best. With what they’ve achieved in the ALMS and how I’ve seen them represent their sponsors at the combined IndyCar and ALMS event this year, I think they’d find great value by expanding into open-wheel. We’re headed in an exciting new direction for 2012 and I think Highcroft could fit right in with the top teams in the series.”

With one season left before the current Dallara IR7 chassis is mothballed for 2012, Dayton says Highcroft’s 2011 plans would involve leasing equipment and joining forces with an existing team.

“It makes a lot more sense to collaborate with someone to start with. To buy the car, build the equipment, build the spares then start testing and development independently of anyone else would be a daunting task, and one that probably had a limited residual value in terms of the leftover equipment. It would make more sense for us to partner with someone who has the equipment, knows the cars, and knows the tracks. No one is going to give us their race-winning setups, but certainly it would give us a better shot if we worked with someone who could give us something that was close. Our engineers can then work to get it closer.” More at SPEEDTV.com

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