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O’Gara Motorsport Ceases Operations

O’Gara Motorsport ceases operations in WeatherTech, Lamborghini ST…

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

One of IMSA’s newest teams is no more, with O’Gara Motorsport having ceased operations in both the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series, effective immediately.

Multiple sources have confirmed to Sportscar365 that the Tom O’Gara-owned organization has pulled the plug on its motorsports programs, reportedly due to financial restructuring within O’Gara’s other business ventures.

Phone calls and emails to team representatives were not returned after multiple attempts prior to the publishing of this article.

O’Gara, the 2015 Lamborghini ST championship-winning team, had made its WeatherTech Championship debut in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, fielding a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Richard Antinucci, Edoardo Piscopo and defending GT Daytona class champions Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.

It’s understood Bell and Sweedler, who were slated for a full-season effort in the O’Gara entry, are working on alternative plans to keep the No. 11 Lamborghini on the grid, but fielded by a different team. Plans are expected to be finalized this week.

The pairing faced a very similar situation two years ago, following the withdrawal of Level 5 Motorsports after the season-opener at Daytona.

As previously reported, O’Gara had plans to field a second Huracan GT3 mid-season, with up to four Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeos planned for the popular IMSA-sanctioned single-make championship.

The development came on the week of the full-season WeatherTech Championship entry list being released, which still listed O’Gara entered, but with an additional, unrelated new Huracan GTD entry from Dream Racing Competition.

Even without the O’Gara entry, Lamborghini still has a strong presence in the WeatherTech Championship, with at least four Huracan GT3s expected for the full season and up to seven for next month’s Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Grids in Lamborghini ST are also expected to rise for its fourth season, which begins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in April.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. pdxracefan

    February 18, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    That was not totally unexpected, based on their previous announcement. Restructuring can have dark overtones.

  2. Aron

    February 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    what a devastating blow for the GTD defending champs 🙁

    • Mike. S

      February 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Yeah I am bummed for the team and Sweedler and Bell. They are cool guys that have been together for a while. I have been rooting for them since they were underdogs in GT in the Team West/Alex Job Racing Yokohama Ferrari. It’s business but they deserve better.

    • DS

      February 18, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      They’ve been in this position before (Level 5 –> AIM) and Sweedler is great at figuring problems out, so I have no dount they will be on the grid at Sebring. Maybe not in a Lambo, but it’s possible

      • susafan

        February 19, 2016 at 2:05 am

        Maybe they can team up some of the O’Gara guys with Konrad Motorsport

  3. Ernie2492

    February 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    This is unexpected..!!

  4. Rennsport4.4TV8

    February 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Anybody know why they left Scuderia Corsa after winning last year?

    • DS

      February 18, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      If I remember correctly, Bell and Sweedler are very good friends with the engineer at O’Gara and Bell actually helped build the team, so it was a good fit for the pair.

      • Rennsport4.4TV8

        February 19, 2016 at 1:16 am

        Thanks!

  5. David Chaste

    February 19, 2016 at 1:52 am

    When you win a title as a gentleman driver with a team, the team you won it with usually will charge you more for the following season, because they have proven very valuable to you. So it could be why. Just maybe…

    and sometimes your contract with a team can dictate whether you are their primary program or not. So maybe there was a chance that the GTD program would not be considered the main program and Sweedler decided to look elsewhere. GTML was probably on the books for Scuderia Corsa a while back in my opinion.

    It could be a number of reason they did not come back. But they are running LeMans with Scuderia Corsa.

    Differant teams charge different amounts, and as the 2013 and 2015 champions Scuderia Corsa probably charges the most for 2016.

    Just what I think

  6. Hedgey

    February 19, 2016 at 4:33 am

    If it doesn’t work out with the Lambo, it doesn’t look like TRG are doing much of anything with their cars for the time being after running Daytona with the rich group of Mexicans. Plenty of time to sort something out for Sebring if Sweedler’s money is still good.

  7. todd mcquillen

    February 19, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Just speculating but between this report and others it sounds like there is something fishy going on behind the scenes at O’Gara Coach. I wonder if it has something to do with their hefty purchase of shady Symbolic Motor Cars? Whenever race teams quickly disappear there is a trail of lawsuits, unpaid bills or a criminal investigation.

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/apr/06/symbolic-car-election-scandal-azano-chase-ogara/

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