We don’t generally deal in rumour-mongering here but let’s file this under the category of a rumour that just won’t go away…
We first reported this rumour at Sebring and now here we were at Lime Rock four months later with a very credible source stating, rather matter of factly, that “Penske has (as opposed to had) a signed deal to run the new Porsche P1 cars”.
There is speculation that if this is true (and it isn’t the first time we’ve heard it) over where this effort will take place – the WEC, or in a still rumoured P1 North American series.
The original intention was certainly to have the Porsche LMP1 effort in the ALMS, which obviously is now not an option and hasn’t been an option, since USCR management decided to not incorporate the P1 category into the plans for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
This same source stated “when 3 or 4 manufacturers want to run their cars, it’s most likely under a new series.” Porsche, HPD, Toyota, Audi… are we missing anyone here? Our understanding is that such a series would not happen until 2015 but there has also been further speculation that any new series may be run in conjunction with the Indy Car series, which makes sense considering the potential and rumoured involvement of Penske.
Could this bring in current Indy teams like Ganassi, Andretti and others into play? Could this also be a place for Audi North America to have a place to run the R18 or it’s successor in the future, in a series in which it can compete for overall wins?
On the HPD front there’s certainly a car that might fit the bill with a new for 2014 Wirth Research designed coupe that it seems HPD aren’t keen to talk to DSC about! Rumours prevail around this one too, and the name that has come up more than once is Ganassi!
The position for Audi is, if anything, even more unclear – With the removal of Wolfgang Durrheimer last month from his position overseeing motorsport strategy across the VAG group the plans to look at DP and/ or Indycar might have foundered. Could a new standalone series offer appeal? Or would the USCR’s links with the ACO be enough to prevent Ingolstadt from embarking on another North American adventure?
Aside from all of this there’s an as yet unannounced LMP1 engine programme in the works, clearly designed to appeal to privateer entrants – more on that soon we hope
No real answers then, but with a continued void of regulatory certainty for the USCR there are certainly plenty of questions.
There is still some smoke on this one…
GH & GG