Clearwater Racing has revealed to DSC that it is set to make a decision on the future of its FIA WEC GTE Am programme before the season finale at Bahrain next month.
DSC spoke to team owner Weng Sun Mok at Fuji, who explained that there are many factors in the decision, but that the Singaporean team is more likely than not to be back in the WEC for the ‘Super Season’ in 2018/19.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first year in the WEC, more than I thought,” Mok said. “We’re working on a programme. Amato Ferrari (head of AF Corse) has presented the ‘Super Season’ package to us, with the costs this weekend.
“The chances are that if we stay, we’ll race with Ferrari, as we have a good relationship with them. We have a good relationship with McLaren too, but they don’t have a car ready.”
The key though, is whether or not Mok wants to continue racing. The 2017 season was set to be his ‘farewell tour’, but learning the circuits and his performances throughout the year has inspired him to consider coming back again. Only at Mexico did he feel like taking part in the ‘Super Season’ was not an option.
“It’s been a learning year, and if you look at how the crew has blended together as one with the Italians and Malaysians. I want to keep that going. We don’t have to win to come back, we have to be competitive.
“The only bad race I have had was at Mexico, and there I got angry and said ‘this is it I won’t be back next year’, because I didn’t feel competitive. But then I had a good weekend in CoTA.
“I told Arj (Kulasagarem), the moment I stop enjoying myself is the moment I stop spending my daughter’s inheritance going racing.
“And we’ve done so much racing in Asia, that last year I wasn’t having fun anymore, it wasn’t new, and that made me think about WEC.”
Another factor is the calendar itself, which has been winterized, resulting in an 18-month 2018/19 season featuring two Le Mans at each end of the season. While there’s a divided opinion in the paddock about having less races over a longer period of time, Mok is firmly in the camp that welcomes the change.
“I love the new calendar, Silverstone coming on helped the decision more, as I wanted to back there and Spa. I like the way it’s spaced out, and if we can avoid putting containers on a plane it will help with the budget.
“The chances are very high that we will be back next year, but I don’t want to make a decision until the end of the year.”
DSC also understands that while the team was considering running two Ferrari 488 GTEs in the next WEC season, it is now unlikely to commit to a full season programme with two cars. However, running an extra car at Le Mans once again is still a possibility.