|Elton Julian lays out team's revised plans|
Greetings and best wishes to the global racing family. There is little to say about the current situation that hasn’t already been said. We have been shocked, saddened, confused, and angry, often all at the same time. It’s fair to say that every racer and fan has had these reactions to some degree – just one way in which we are all in this together. At the same time, there’s no denying there’s been a silver lining in the form of a windfall of time for family and taking a broader perspective on life and the future.
Having invested every penny into getting our car, driver, and team ready for FP1 at the St Pete INDYCAR opener, “crushed" doesn’t begin to explain how it felt to see all our efforts rendered pointless literally overnight. We never even got a photo of our eye-popping new sponsor livery on track, never mind the opportunity to mix it up with our rivals and build towards Long Beach and the Indianapolis 500.
At that moment, quickly understanding what was coming, we decided to get everyone, including our stalwart international team members, home as fast as possible and batten down the hatches. Two months have passed, during which we did all we could to support our amazingly patient and understanding crew, and have survived with our team largely intact. Not too far off, I can hear the guys laughing and having a friendly go at each other. In a few weeks, we will be racing again. Here’s our plan as it stands today:
ACO European Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours
Our European program continues, with the ELMS reduced from six to five rounds and our second Le Mans entry now elevated to first reserve. Ryan Cullen has been training like a mad man, as has Ben Hanley (although, I suspect, with regular home DIY breaks). Memo Rojas is maintaining his own tip-top physical condition while becoming more popular than ever in Mexico – surely he’ll have his own TV series soon! The pandemic also delayed the move from France across the border to a new base in southern Spain that we had planned for after Barcelona. Shortly before the lockdown, we had the chance to conduct a long shakedown of our brand new ORECA-Gibson LMP2. Our EU crew is in good health and raring to go.
IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship
Having scored a repeat LMP2 class win at Daytona, you can imagine how eager we were to carry that momentum into Sebring, especially after a fast and flawless test there with Henrik Hedman and Harrison Newey. While IMSA’s restart has proven complicated to orchestrate, the revised calendar revealed last week still gives the LMP2 contingent a complete if compressed season. With a little luck, our category’s car count will be stable or even expand a bit, and we hope our competitors weather the storm and we can all continue to entertain in true LMP2 style.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
Not surprisingly, this is where our plans have taken the biggest hit. While sportscars remain our bread and butter, INDYCAR is the focus of our future growth. Beyond the frustration of St Pete, we remain buoyed by a strong two days of testing in early March, progress on the sponsorship front, and the challenges of climbing the INDYCAR mountain. Once our core sportscar business is back in full swing, we aim to return to the INDYCAR grid, with the Indy 500 our top priority.
Every day the picture changes, with new schedule clashes still possible, so we are keeping a close eye on things. Like the rest of you, we are concentrating on what we do best as racers and thoughtfully adapting to swiftly changing conditions and circumstances. Never have the words “with all deliberate speed" been more apt…