JDC-Miller Motorsports is set to make its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut next year, should it secure IMSA’s automatic invite for winning the Trueman Pro-Am Team Endurance Award, according to team owner John Church.
The Minnesota-based team has stepped up to Prototype competition this year with an Oreca 07 Gibson for Stephen Simpson and Mikhail Goikhberg, who is the only full-season driver registered for the award this year.
While the invite has not yet been formally secured, Church said they already have the funding “provisionally in place” should the prospects of Le Mans become a reality by the end of the year.
“We hope to win the Trueman Award and get that invite. If we do, we’d certainly take it. Everybody’s motivated to do it,” Church told Sportscar365.
Church said a Le Mans program has been in the works since making the decision to move up from the Prototype Challenge class at the end of last year, as the only full-time ORECA LMP2 team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The team has already enjoyed promising results this season, with runner-up finishes in the last two races, and nearly pulling off an elusive first overall win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which saw Simpson set the race’s fastest lap.
According to Church, discussions have already taken place with ORECA for the Le Mans effort, which would likely be supported by a European-based organization.
“We’ve had some conversations and that’s one of the things we’ve talked about,” he said.
“We’d plan to work with [ORECA] as close as we can, to either find another team to work with or lease a car over there, or maybe bring a car.
“From our standpoint, it’s about leasing [equipment]. That’s the only potential caveat, whether there would be cars available to us.”
Church has also not ruled out taking part in selected pre-Le Mans races in Europe, either in the FIA World Endurance Championship or European Le Mans Series, but it would depend on a number of factors.
“That would probably make the most sense but it’s just a matter of budget, logistics and scheduling. Racing in Europe would be pretty fun,” he said.
JDC-Miller would become the third different American LMP2 team to make its Le Mans debut in the last three years, courtesy of IMSA’s auto-invite.
Michael Shank Racing took part in the 2016 race with Trueman winner John Pew, while Ben Keating entered his Riley Mk. 30 Gibson this year.
IMSA’s other Le Mans auto-invite is expected to go to the end-of-year Bob Akin Award winner in the GT Daytona class, which is currently led by Keating.