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Rusinov: WEC ‘Super Season’ Opens Door for IMSA, ELMS Programs

Roman Rusinov believes reduced WEC schedule creates opportunities…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Roman Rusinov believes the FIA World Endurance Championship’s “Super Season” format for 2018-19 could open the door for teams and drivers to add programs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or European Le Mans Series.

The Russian driver, who carries the backing of national oil giant G-Drive, revealed he’s looking to take part in an additional series next year, including a potential Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup effort with a Cadillac DPi.

WEC’s radical schedule change, which sees an eight-round calendar spread over 18 months, results in only four rounds for the 2018 calendar year, which Rusinov believes creates an opportunity to explore new possibilities.

“We’re trying to evaluate all options to understand what’s the budget,” he told Sportscar365.

“If we do WEC, can we do something else together? What can we do to make a program that has a marketing plan that looks [good]?

“For sure, four races is not enough in a year, for a team and if you do a marketing program.

“It’s positive in other ways. If it opens new opportunities to do a second championship, it’s not bad.”

That new opportunity for the 2015 WEC LMP2 champion could be in IMSA, which Rusinov said he’s kept an eye on for some time.

“I had [an IMSA program] in mind at the beginning of the year,” he said. “If we didn’t have Pierre [Thiriet], I would not have done WEC, to be honest.

“If I want to do the four big races I have to take a decision in October. Then I have to decide which car and team to take and how to do it. Then you need to understand the budget.”

While racing an Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car in the WEC, Rusinov said he would likely look to the DPi market should he be able to put together a program for the Patron Endurance Cup races.

“Probably the Cadillac [DPi] would be a good idea because it’s a good and fast car,” he said.

“What I like in DPi is that you have an LMP2 car with a different engine. If you speak about marketing, it’s for sure better to have a car with a name.

“When driving in Le Mans, people ask me what car I’m driving. I say an Oreca-Gibson. It’s hard to explain.

“When you go in DPi and say Cadillac, this is what is good to see at the end of the day.

“The DPi looks much more interesting from the marketing plan.”

Rusinov said an ELMS program is also under consideration, with his G-Drive backing already sponsoring the DragonSpeed-run Oreca, which currently leads the LMP2 championship.

“For sure I like WEC and I appreciate the people working there,” he said. “I feel part of the family but you have to understand how to put all the projects together.

“It’s quite difficult to understand what to do next year.

“If I have to sign the budget, I will sign it for the year, not the [entire WEC] championship. I would have a contract with [TDS Racing] through Dec. 31 if I continue with them.

“We have to evaluate and understand and get a lot of comments on the calendar.”

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

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Osake

    September 7, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Of course, it’s impossible to buy a Cadillac, or Acura or Mazda at the moment.

    • Marc

      September 7, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      A hunch… I think Wayne Taylor Racing has a spare chassis they could press into service provided someone comes with the necessary $$.

      In the past WTR has mentioned they could run a second Cadillac DPi if they were able to put a program together.

      • guest

        September 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm

        WTR is a GM blessed team though. GM seems to be very picky who represents their brands. They don’t want to have their cars as back markers. Not good advertising.

        • KW

          September 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

          This is not my opinion, and I even doubt if GM even has influence on the choice of the lineup. If Rusinov comes along with the budget to finance a second WTR car or a third Action Express car, the teams will be willing to do so, especially because a pairing consisting of Rusinov and a good hired “Pro” (there will be many good drivers available next year) will be able to compete for the championship. Rusinov might not have the pace of Ricky Taylor, but he is on the same level as people like Barbosa or van Overbeek.

          • jareth Belanger

            September 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

            You are missing the point. GM holds the strings. Do you think they would allow WTR and AXR to race under their brand and pay out the development without being able to have the final say on what happens to those cars?

        • rissas dad

          September 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

          Agree that GM is very picky, but I would not consider GDrive a backmarker.

        • KV

          September 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

          G DRIVE and well financed are synonymous,with fast and Wayne Taylor is keen on running LeMANS,so Roman Rusinov and LARBRE RACING ARE KEY PLAYERS !

    • Jake

      September 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Its not impossible at all. Marshall Pruett has the same problem. He said none of the cars are available. For 2017 that may have been the case. But Mark Kent of GM Racing already said if you want to run a Cadillac, they will sell you one. Orders go through Dallara though, as that was the agreement between GM and Dallara.

    • Actually reads news not forum speculation

      September 7, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Exactly as others have said, it was never a not for sale chassis. Dallara said to start the season 6 chassis would be tight and I believe they made the 5 ordered by AXR and WTR. Making new ones would only require a check and team to run one, and given the performance of the chassis in LMP2 trim I think they would push for more Cadillac DPis in a second.

  2. David Chaste

    September 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Rusinov is as fast as anyone. He might be a business man as he claims, but that’s only because he never reached his goal of racing in F1. But he was an F1 test driver for 2 years.

    And G drive and the word backmarker have nothing in common.

  3. Johannes275

    September 7, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    You have that precisely right. Maybe what he meant is he’ll try and persuade G-Drive to startup a program in the premier class of the WSCC, which would be a good bonus to see.

  4. Slicks in the wet

    September 8, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Holding my breath…

  5. Axl Rose ate my Buick

    September 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    “For sure, four races is not enough in a year, for a team and if you do a marketing program.”

    See, ACO/FIA, that new calendar is sure death.

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