Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Sports Cars says Not so Fast IndyCar

As we’ve got our own Silly Season still Ah-Simmerin’ away…


On the eve of this year’s Salem Six Hours at The Glen IMSA endurance race. Pipo Derani, Action Express Racing’s (AXR) lead driver mutually announced His impending departure from AXR at season’s end. Becoming the first confirmed driver switching rides for 2025. Being just the latest piece in this ever intriguing puzzle…


Wayback on May 2nd, Racer’s Marshall Pruett wrote about IMSA’s 2025 Silly Season. Most notably divulging that Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) would not be retaining its factory Cadillac program next year.


Along with the surprising news that Meyer shank Racing (MSR) would be returning to IMSA GTP competition after a year’s hiatus once again with a Werks’ Acura entry, with former MSR IndyCar driver tom blomqvist as its lead driver…


I actually first heard all of this scuttlebutt on  one of the random The Week in sportscars Marshall Pruett and Graham Goodwin podcasts prior to May 2nd.


As Marshall notes in the article how the bulk of this news became fairly accepted Wayback in April, over the Long Beach race weekend. With the other known piece of the puzzle being that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti (WTRA) would be taking over the Cadillac Racing program, tying in with Mikey A’s attempts to land a Formula 1 entry with Cadillac Power Units…


Where things get murky for Mwah is I’d Arse-sume that Wayne Taylor & Michael Andretti or WTR Andretti won’t be shrinking back down to a single car entry next year. Since AXR and Cadillac have said nothing about their leaving IMSA GTP next year, and presumably will continue as a single car entry for 2025; meaning there should be three Caddy’s racing next season Stateside.


Ironically, Blomqvist is running All of the Michelin Endurance Cup (MEC) as the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing’s Cadillac entry.


Yet where I get even more Cornfuzed’ is I doubt that MSR will be running a two car Acura ARX-06 program next year, Righto? Making me wonder where the second Acura GTP chassis winds up?


I suppose it’s also worth noting that the FIA announced during Le Mans that beginning next year, all FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar teams will be mandated to running a two car operation. Which Lamborghini has confirmed their WEC participation next year, but don’t know publicly what effect this will have upon their IMSA GTP efforts. As Lamborghini is running a single SC63 in all of the endurance rounds (MEC) this year.


Since even though the Lamborghini SC63 program is run by Iron Lynx, I’ve read or heard somewhere that Prema Racing is also involved in this project. With Prema set to enter IndyCar next year with a two car Chevrolet entry.


This leaves us with at least 50% of the IndyCar teams also racing in IMSA GTP, i.e.; Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) along with the forementioned WTR Andretti, MSR and Prema entries.


Making me ponder that Wayne Taylor & Michael Andretti could potentially be running a four car Cadillac program next season, with two entries apiece in IMSA and WED? And could Mikey A’s new Silverstone base double as it’s WEC operation’s base?


Leaving us just wondering if Cheep’ (Ganassi) will manage to find a new Sports Car project for 2025? Or will they take a year’s break before beginning a new program?


And what about McLaren potentially finally joining the Hypercar ranks in 2027? Since I read Zak Brown saying this would most likely be the earliest for them to debut presumably an (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid) LMDH-spec chassis, now that the FIA and the ACO have extended the current Hypercar regulations until the end of 2029. With Zak noting Mclaren would only be interested in a two car WEC Factory programme…


Naturally, after I’d finished this story, on June 27th, it was made official that MSR will take over the Acura GTP program next year with a two car operation, which I didn’t see that coming.


Reportedly MSR will team with HRC US, who’s engineers will run the second Acura ARX-06 entry. With no word on driver line-ups. Other than Blomqvist is expected to be reunited with colin Brown, with the others to be named later.


This just leaves WTR Andretti and Cadillac to confirm their part of the Dealio’, which now seems overly obvious…