Louis Deletraz is set to reunite with reigning IMSA LMP2 champion John Farano for the sprint races in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year.
The 25-year-old prototype star helped guide the Canadian Bronze-rated driver to last season’s LMP2 title in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson.
Farano’s team had only previously confirmed Kyffin Simpson for the four Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, as well as Team Penske NTT IndyCar Series stars Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin for next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona season-opener.
Deletraz, the reigning European Le Mans Series champion, is the additional Endurance Cup driver Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport in the GTP class.
“In all likelihood, I’ll have Louis Deletraz back to do the sprint races,” Farano told Sportscar365 during a press conference at the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
“He’s available for that and Louis was fantastic last year. It’s a pleasure to have him back as well. Kyffin and I will continue to get to know each other.
“He’s been great: I’m already learning new things, and that’s what it’s about. I’m a sponge here! Just learning from these guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun to do that.”
Farano and Deletraz won two races together last year including the Motul Petit Le Mans season finale alongside Rui Andrade.
When asked about what made his and Deletraz’s driver partnership so effective last season, Farano said: “I think it’s his enthusiasm.
“It’s hard to come across guys who have that level of passion and enthusiasm in this racing world. When you get to this level, that’s what these guys are like.
“What really helped me last year was his teachings, just with braking and understanding data and video. It was constant: we never took a break. As soon as you’re out of the car, you’re in the room studying.
“He was really dedicated and devoted to the program, which is cool to find sometimes.”
Deletraz told Sportscar365 that he is “super happy” to be back with Farano for the races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Road America and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Swiss driver is now set for a 20-race program considering he is expected to return to the FIA World Endurance Championship and ELMS this year.
“John gave me a chance to come to the U.S.,” Deletraz said.
“I wouldn’t have such a good name in the U.S., getting into GTP, without him. I’m really happy I could coach him, win races and get the championship.”
Deletraz’s GTP commitment to WTR Andretti means that Farano will need to recruit a different professional driver to share the No. 8 Oreca with him and Simpson at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans.
Farano said that there have been “discussions” about getting either Newgarden or McLaughlin back in the No. 8 Oreca later in the season, but noted that their schedules make that challenging.
“I’d love to have these guys in the car, but they’ve got busy schedules,” he indicated.
“It’s not just race events: they’ve got a lot of testing and things to do within their own programs. We’re focused on this weekend, but we’ve had some discussions and we’ll see where that leads.”