Jackie Chan DC Racing team owner David Cheng is planning ahead, he and his team looking expand to into LMP1 in the FIA WEC in the near future with a Chinese manufacturer.
Cheng feels that the marketplace in China and Asia as a whole, which is growing fast in motorsport, has a lot of potential, and is bullish about his chances of getting a deal with an OEM done in time for the beginning of the 2020/21 regulation cycle.
In order to achieve this, Cheng has had step back from the driving seat, to concentrate on securing a sustainable, and successful future for the team.
“Most people look at what I’m doing this year as managing the team more, but my role is not so much technical because of Sam and everyone here with him that does a good job,” he told DSC.
“The decision to step out of a driving role, is based what we lacked last year, and that’s in the business end. It’s no secret, I want to bring a Chinese manufacturer into this, and into a factory LMP1 deal.
“The regulations come out in 2020 and 2021, so by next year you need to start building. So this year we need progress on getting deals in place to make it happen.
“It’s all about educating the market in China in racing. It needs to make up for lost time. In the past 20 years the automotive market has developed at an extraordinary rate. I remember when I was a kid, cars were rare, and this was the early 90s. Everyone rode bicycles until the early 2000s when there was a big boom.
“China’s own auto industry is now starting to catch up to, China’s old brands. And they’re learning from what other people are doing. With autonomous driving, with electrification, hybrids, it’s all of a sudden a situation where every car brand across the world is learning, it’s a more even playing field.
“China needs to innovate, and where does it come from? Motorsport, and testing the limits in an extreme environment. There’s a big focus on trying to learn, and in the past two years there’s been a lot of interest in Chinese manufacturers, Chinese companies going motor racing.”
While Chinese manufacturers are yet to truly break into high-level international motorsport, Cheng feels that jumping straight into the WEC is viable, the resources in the market place making it possible to go racing in LMP1 with an established partner team like JCDC.
“There’s two ways to do this, go from the bottom and build step by step, or use the resources like China has, and go in at the top,” he explained. “Coming into the World (Endurance) Championship, I think, is not crazy at all. We’ve built this team to be ready, to be ready for when manufacturers want to take the plunge.
“We have meetings scheduled. We’re narrowing the list (of manufacturers) and pretty soon we’re planning to be with a specific manufacturer, and get engaged with the manufacturer meetings with the ACO.
“But timing wise, we haven’t been able to move to that stage yet.”