Jackie Chan DC Racing could become the latest European-based team to make its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut, with the Jota Sport-run operation evaluating a LMP2 effort for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring next year.
The Chinese team, fresh off a historic 1-2 class finish in last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, and overall podium result, is looking to take one of its Oreca 07 Gibsons Stateside for the opening two rounds of the 2018 season, according to team owner David Cheng.
“We’re exploring what’s beneficial, and how it fits into our program,” Cheng told Sportscar365.
“America is a place where a lot of our sponsors, our brand and Jackie’s movies [are at]. The new Jackie Chan movie, ‘The Foreigner’ is coming out in October.
“There’s some interest there for sure.”
Cheng, a former Sebring class winner, hinted that an end-of-season run in this year’s Motul Petit Le Mans could even be in the cards, although Jota Sport team boss Sam Hignett has essentially ruled it out, at least with its current cars, due to logistics.
Despite having three Oreca LMP2 cars, Hignett said its third chassis will be used as a spare at all of the remaining FIA World Endurance Championship events, and would therefore not be available for the Road Atlanta enduro due to shipping schedules.
Hignett, who attended last weekend’s WeatherTech Championship race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, indicated that IMSA’s newly announced “36 Hours of Florida” incentive package for international teams will not likely play a factor in its decision.
The Englishman, however, has praised the championship’s level of competition, as well as scheduling in comparison to the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, which generally kicks off in April.
“I think IMSA racing is great and the way the calendars fall does give you the opportunity to do like what Rebellion did, to do Daytona and Sebring at the beginning of the year,” he told Sportscar365.
“The main focus at the moment is having a look and doing a bit of a feasibility study on Daytona and Sebring and seeing what’s possible.”
Should a program materialize, it would mark Jota’s return to the IMSA paddock for the first time since 2009, when it assisted the Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek Hybrid in the American Le Mans Series.
Prior to that, Hignett ran the factory Zytek 06S LMP1 program, which finished second overall at Pettit Le Mans in 2006.
Hignett, however, has stressed that its WEC effort will take priority, with the team currently holding a commanding lead in the LMP2 World Championship.
“WEC is our main focus and we need to concentrate on this year and next year,” he said.