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WTR Lamborghini GTD Plans on Hold; Focus on Cadillac DPi

Wayne Taylor Racing to focus on Cadillac DPi effort as Lamborghini GTD plans fade…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Plans for Wayne Taylor Racing to expand into the GT Daytona class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship have been put on hold, according to team owner Wayne Taylor, as the reigning Prototype championship-winning squad is set to focus on its title defense with its Cadillac DPi-V.R program.

The Indianapolis-based team had been working towards a potential two-car Lamborghini Huracan GT3 operation, although Taylor admitted that time has run out to make it financially viable for next year.

“We think it’s best to focus on our Cadillac DPi effort for now,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “We have Ryan [Hunter-Reay] back with us [for the Rolex 24] and Renger [van der Zande] seems to be just a great guy to get on with. Jordan, in what he did in Daytona, said he thinks Renger is going to be really fast.

“So I’ve got to focus on this. [Prototype] is where all the sponsors are coming. Winning overall is a big deal for sponsors.”

WTR’s proposed Lamborghini effort would have been an extension of its championship-winning program in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, which has seen the team earn multiple titles, including this year’s World Final in Imola, in association with Prestige Performance.

Taylor said the finances required to step into GTD, believed to now be upwards of $3 million annually for a single-car operation, has made it a difficult sell.

“We’d love to run a GTD Lamborghini but somebody’s got to pay for it,” he said. “There’s no doubt. We’ve built a relationship with Lamborghini. We’ve not only won the North American championship but also the World Final.

“They’re great people to deal with. But unless they pay 70 percent of it, and the other comes from the Silver drivers, it would be something I’d be putting a lot of effort into. But at the moment, it’s not.

“Our program’s budgets are just going up and up and up. I’ve got to [focus on] getting through next year.”

WTR’s Prototype team has seen Renger van der Zande replace Ricky Taylor at the wheel of the Konica Minolta-sponsored Cadillac DPi alongside Jordan Taylor, with the elder brother joining Acura Team Penske’s new factory DPi effort for 2018.

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

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Anthony

    December 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Wow! $3 million! I believe him but it’s unbelievable. I don’t know how in the world you sell anyone that there’s $3 million in value for a sponsor or even silver drivers. I get that sponsors want to win overall. You probably get more exposure finishing 5th in P than you do for winning GTD. I hope something can be done in the cost containment area or I expect you’ll see more field shrinkage and projected teams never materializing.

    • John Dagys

      December 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Just to be clear, Wayne did not tell me that number. It’s from multiple un-named sources involved in GTD racing. The number is around 2.6-2.8 million.

      • Dan

        December 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        That’s still an insane amount of money for class that’s supposed made up of privateer teams.

    • Dan

      December 28, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      I don’t think even an overall win can justify that level of expenditure, not in sportscar racing, F1 Nascar or factory supported teams sure but not from privateer teams relying on paying AMs and outside drivers.

    • Andy Flinn

      December 29, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Anthony, that’s just for one car. It would cost at least $5.2 million for two.

    • Mike S

      December 29, 2017 at 2:32 am

      Why it’s dying. It’s $3-$5 million to run one. GTLM is $5-10. It’s knocking on that door. It’s too expensive.

  2. Dan

    December 28, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “Taylor said the finances required to step into GTD, believed to now be upwards of $3 million annually for a single-car operation, has made it a difficult sell.”

    I wonder why? It’s only supposed to be a class made of privateer pro am entries.

    Sarcasm aside, GTD is in trouble, if you take away the NAEC only entries and the clearly factory supported teams like Wright and Land and possibly Shank and Magnus, you’ve got a tiny field of cars that this class was designed for. The costs are only going to go up and IMSA needs to act.

  3. curtis

    December 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I’ll play Devil’s advocate here. All things considered, just under $3 million to run an entire IMSA season isn’t that terribly outrageous. If you consider the cost of a car, tires, fuel, entry fees, personnel, logistics, etc. etc., it really isn’t an unreasonable price tag. There’s no doubt that motorsports is an expensive venture. However, as the saying goes, if you want to play, you’ve got to pay. Realistically speaking, most of your privateer team owners are either successful business people or, independently wealthy and can afford such an expensive hobby. Obviously, not just anyone can jump in and start up a team but, common sense should already tell you that. I’m personally not shocked in the least to see that figure as the operating cost for a GT3 single car team.

    • Issac

      December 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Yes the cost is going to be high as racing is expensive but there has to come a point when things become to expensive for even the richest team owners to afford. Esepcially, given most don’t fund their racing themselves, they rely on sponsors and funded drivers and often factory money. They get rich and stay rich from not spending their own money.

      Look at what happened to Alex Job, Stevenson, and how badly Will Turner is struggling to find paying drivers. None of these guys is middle class by any stretch but two are out the racing business apart from historic and one may soon only be competing in lower tier GT4 and TC series. One expects racing to be expensive but if being funded by your manufacturer directly is required to compete then the series has a problem, that formula simply isn’t sustainable for long periods. Its only a matter of time before the manufacturers pull the plug on the funding for any number of reasons and those dependent on the money disappear. GTD could look in 2020 or even 2019 like GS did in 2016 if IMSA doesn’t do something according to one source in the IMSA paddock, whom i chatted with a Petit.

      • curtis

        December 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

        I’m not saying that the costs aren’t high and shouldn’t be reined in. I’m just stating that in today’s market it doesn’t seem unreasonable. I understand that pay drivers and sponsors are used to help cover the expenses but, the owner has to incur some of the responsibility as well. The main problem is, how do you fairly control the cost? A spending cap is one suggestion I’ve heard but, how would IMSA, or any sanctioning body, monitor that? As long as there’s one, or a handful, of teams with deep pockets they’ll continue to drive costs up. Unfortunately, in racing, money buys speed.

        • Issac

          December 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          There are several ways too but few sanctioning bodies are willing to do them. First kick out all of the obvious works teams and examine closely those whom you suspect are being factory backed to make sure they aren’t. Second, examine the AM part of the lineup and kick out the sneaky silvers that are currently plaguing the sport, PWC has started to do this. If they don’t have an real paying AM then no entry for them. Third, sit down with team owners without manufacturers reps present and see what kind of schedule they would like and come to a consensus of some kind. They will have the best knowledge of what works best for them financially and their paying drivers. The manufacturers should support their customers decision NOT dictate it to them. Problem is these ideas would not be popular among manufacturers and the most vocal part of the fan base. Manufacturers often throw extra money around to get sanctioning bodies to bend or ignore the rules.

          In addition a freeze in the rules to prevent the constant and costly updates to cars year on year would be great, any changes necessary for safety or reliability should be free to customers. A three to four year period in which no fundamental changes to cars are allowed. This will incentivize manufacturers to test even more thoroughly than they do now and hopefully prevent some of the issues we’ve seen in past few years with gt3. Also if they know any changes that are needed before the period of freeze expires will be loses will slow the out of control development cycle that is currently happening.

          These are but a few of the steps that can be taken to reduce costs and maintain competition. I didn’t come up with these myself these ideas have come from team owners and drivers from both IMSA and PWC.

  4. Dylan M

    December 28, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I certainly believe the prices of 2.6 – 3.0 million for GTD. Hell, even Conti GT4 (GS) is around 800k – 1.2 million depending on what car you’re driving.

  5. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    December 28, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Just another reason why today’s GT3 will soon be GT4-the costs are too high and look at the manufacturers in GT4 now. No reason why GT4 couldn’t be the new GTD class very soon as GT3 prices out participants.

    • Dan

      December 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      The cycle would just repeat it self again, GT4 now is how GT3 started out. Putting them in the main show as opposed to support races will just speed up the process. If placed in the main race(s), manufactures have added incentive to spend more money on development and paying teams to race their cars. I wonder how long before GT5 is introduced by the SRO as means of “budget” racing

  6. Matt

    December 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Wonder what the figures are like for Blancpain.

    • Justin Porter

      December 28, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      More heavily offset by manufacturer support which is also spread out among more manufacturers given that Nissan/Bentley/McLaren/Jaguar are all also able to compete.

      GTD would look significantly more healthy with 2 GTR’s, 2 Continentals, 2 650S’s, and Emil Frey’s Jags in attendance, but with IMSA’s “Partnership Fee” there’s an expensive blockade keeping additional, smaller, GT3 focused manufacturers and their concurrent teams from participating.

      • Andy Flinn

        December 29, 2017 at 12:24 am

        Justin, GTD is supposed to be for manufacturers that produce CUSTOMER cars like Porsche.

        It’s not for manufacturers who want to poach a GTD class victory at Daytona or Sebring.

        Manufacturers that are SERIOUS about racing in GTD (also Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, Acura, BMW, even Aston Martin), who have actual customers interested in racing their cars in GTD, don’t have an issue paying the IMSA “Partnership Fee.

    • Dan

      December 28, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Blancpain running costs are high in the PRO classes owing to the bevy of works and works supported teams but less in the PRO-AM and AM categories. Costs also depend on whether your competing in Endurance or Sprint or both.
      The level of factory involvement has driven up costs. Its a problem because alot of the PROAMs and AMs have left due to cost and track crowding. However unlike IMSA, the SRO has recognized this and is working to reduce costs, next year will likely see a reduction in the number of PRO cars allowed in total via a cap and likely a cap on the number of works teams a manufacturer can run, Audi and AMG were particularly bad this year running multiple works cars across multiple teams. The SRO also created the GT sports club for older racers and more gentleman drivers but I hope IMSA doesn’t go that route.

  7. Jenner

    December 28, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    How much cheaper was GTD back in the Grand Am days?

  8. Pierre

    December 29, 2017 at 1:36 am

    This sport is outrageously expensive

    • Andy Flinn

      December 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Pierre, that’s what the fans wanted.

      High-technology, manufacturer-based racing in EVERY class.

      Today, technology is so complex that few teams have the resources or support to build their own race cars. Now factories set a price, whatever it is (even if their GT4 is more than three times the price of their road car) and teams have to pay it or shop for another car.

      I’m not sure what fans expected anyway. We’re talking Lamborghinis, Mercedes, and Ferraris featured in IMSA’s “cheapest” (GTD) class.

      So is it shocking that Wayne Taylor would struggle to find $5 million plus to race two Lamborghinis in GTD? Not really.

      Some factories, content in GTLM, don’t even build GTD cars. They show no current interest and probably never will. Sadly, those are the manufacturers located in IMSA’s own backyard (Detroit).

      Also, the IMSA Camel GT series of long ago had a MUCH deeper bench than today’s IMSA. That meant that even if all of the teams didn’t enter EVERY IMSA Camel GT race, there were still plenty of cars that showed up at every event. Some competitive teams just raced on the East Coast, and some just raced on the West Coast. But each IMSA Camel GT race had several competitive cars.

      Today, IMSA – just like the WEC – is a travelling road show, dependent on the same dozen or so GTD cars showing up for each round. And by the third round, we know basically who those teams are. At that point, an entry list really isn’t necessary, except to track driver changes.

      Sure, races like Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta (the NAEC) will draw more entries. Those races always have and they will continue to do so in the future.

      Then, there’s the IMSA schedule with all the hours of racing, and the constant demands by some to add or extend more races. Dropping one round (Laguna Seca) might help. But it won’t solve that problem.

      However, back in 1983, the IMSA Camel GT had 17 races!

      That schedule included a 24-hour at Daytona, a 12-hour at Sebring, a 6-hour at Riverside, a 6-hour at Mid-Ohio, a 6-hour at Mosport, and a 500-miler (almost 5 hours) at Road America.

      Now THAT’s a brutal schedule!

      What was the difference? The IMSA Camel GT’s deeper bench. Back then, not every car competed in every race.

      • jason

        December 29, 2017 at 10:08 am

        I think the cigaraette/tobacco sponsorship helped a lot too back then. We don’t have this anymore.

  9. Mike S

    December 29, 2017 at 2:35 am

    For Uber rich. Sure those drop Laguna Seca from schedule hacks would surely solve the operating cost issues.

  10. NaBUru38

    December 29, 2017 at 8:12 am

    The problem isn’t the cost, but the low track attendance at non-endurance rounds, and pathetic TV ratings.

    • jason

      December 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Not so sure about that. Places like Lime Rock and VIR do just fine. Probably the only immediate thing you can do for 2018 with GTD is remove Laguna Seca. I don’t think there is much of a need to travel all the way out west on a track where the pit lane will be tight with such a large prototype field plus the GTLMs.

      Maybe more radical changes might be needed in the future to reduce costs. 1) limits on tires for the week 2)More races where you have P/GTD only or GT only or P/GTLM only. 3) Reduce Watkins Glen to 4 hours and Road Atlanta to 8 hours. I’m not sure how you can reduce costs for the 36 hours of Florida events though. That probably takes most of the $$$.

  11. juneracer

    December 30, 2017 at 8:45 am

    IMSAs entry fee for all the events is a big chunk as well; over $125k/season per car, if you get the cheap full season plan. the numbers being thrown around per season are also just running cost. that doesn’t include the cost of the car! and there’s no private testing cost in those numbers. IMSA can reduce cost by forcing manufactures to increase the allowable mileage on gear box (drive train), engine and suspension components. when IMSA was taken over by Grand-Am they kept all the long races. just the cost of NAEC is over half the budget. but i’m sure IMSAs aware of this and is contemplating options…

  12. DEJ

    December 31, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Wayne was hoping/expecting factory backing. Lambo probably felt with the support he gets from Cadillac , they would be second in line.Not getting the full attention from him.

  13. David Chaste

    January 2, 2018 at 2:12 am

    Since they had a very good season, they should have pushed very hard for a second cadillac DPi to combat Penske. But now that Spirit of Daytona is here it’s a moot point.

  14. Passenger

    January 3, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Considering Callaway Corvette?

  15. DB

    January 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Wonder what blanpains fee’s are. They have over 50 car grids every race.

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