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Baron on Shifting Gears to “Green Pastures” of CGR

Starworks’ Peter Baron on career move to race strategist with Chip Ganassi Racing…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Peter Baron says his shift to race strategist for Chip Ganassi Racing has been a “fun thing to do” as the former Starworks Motorsport team owner takes on a new challenge in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock.

Baron, who was behind the championship-winning Starworks outfit, has been brought into the CGR fold amid the team’s expansion into a two-car DPi operation.

The former driver-turned-team owner will be calling strategy this season on the No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R of Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, whom he worked with in the Dutchman’s early years in the WeatherTech Championship.

“Renger and I had great success over the three years and it seemed with the growth at Ganassi with a second car — and they’ve known that was going to be happening for a little bit — I started talking to them in the fall,” Baron told Sportscar365.

“It only made sense they needed to hire some folks.

“The opportunity to go there, work with Renger and Ganassi and get back up to the top class seemed like it was going to be a fun thing to do.”

Baron, who’s considered one of the most accomplished strategists in the sports car racing paddock, said he’s quickly settled into the Cadillac operation.

“The thing that’s really fun about being back here is that there’s been a growth to a second team, a lot of new people and a lot of new concepts and relationships,” he said.

“Being able to help out, even with things that are outside of what my responsibility would be as a strategist…

“From equipment I’ve used or techniques I’ve used and being able to bring that and have discussions with all of the folks here and try to make the best thing possible and the groundwork this year for the new car next year.”

While his position with CGR takes priority on race weekends, Baron still plays a role with his former LMP2 operation, which is running under new management led by former Extreme Speed Motorsports lead mechanic Ricky Capone, who became crew chief at Tower Motorsport last year.

“There was a decision to step away from Starworks,” Baron said. “John Farano has been fantastic with the Tower program. Last year it was a little bit fuzzy where Starworks ended and Tower was taking over.

“John became a lot more involved last season and it was a whole nice transition where I’m still involved with that away from the track, from an equipment and logistics and paperwork and all of the IMSA relationships.

“I’m still helping them out with things but I’m so proud of that team and what we created over two years. Literally the joke was that the last couple of races [from] last year I was just the barista on the team!

“The guys, [led by] Ricky Capone, have knocked it out of the park. He brought a couple of people in from his past and I had a couple of people and John had guys he worked with in the past.

“It was a great little meshing of people. It’s a great team.”

While not giving up entirely on team ownership, Baron said he feels like he’s in a good position for the future.

“You never know,” he said. “But the opportunity here within Ganassi and seeing the resources they have… and where I’m at in my career, it’s a lot of stress as a team owner and a lot of drama.

“It’s a lot of fun over here with a lot of green pastures and opportunities and amazing resources that you’re able to interact with. That’s been a lot of fun.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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