Grasser Racing Team will contest the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with a GT Daytona entry for Misha Goikhberg and Franck Perera, while a second full-time Lamborghini effort is also under consideration.
Team principal Gottfried Grasser told Sportscar365 that the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo is registered to run the full 12-round GTD campaign this year in the hands of Squadra Corse factory ace Perera and ex-Meyer Shank Racing Acura driver Goikhberg.
The Austrian squad is also exploring the possibility of adding a similar full-time program for its No. 111 machine which is currently only listed for the Michelin Endurance Cup.
GRT announced last October that it would enter IMSA’s long-distance events with two cars, while Grasser indicated the team’s full-season intentions the following month.
Grasser’s team made its full-time IMSA debut last season in partnership with Magnus Racing, but the two organizations parted ways at the end of the campaign.
“The plan is that the No. 111 car stays for Endurance Cup, and the No. 19 goes to the full championship with all the sprint events and city [street] races,” said Grasser.
“We are talking with some good drivers and have some interesting things that maybe [mean] we get the No. 111 also for the full season, but it’s still a little bit early.
“The two cars for endurance and one car for the full season is confirmed. It would make sense for us to bring the second car full-season because we’re going to every event.”
Grasser explained that GRT’s U.S-based technical crew learned a lot during its first IMSA season working alongside Magnus, which has aligned with Acura for the 2021 campaign.
However, he suggested that working as a solo outfit this year will bring some benefits to the operation.
GRT is based at Deerfield Beach in Florida but is also making use of a Lamborghini facility in Detroit, which Grasser anticipates will come in handy for races in the northern States.
“It was a big experience for us, to do the full season,” he said.
“There are so many different tracks, so we collected a lot of data, and a lot of ideas setup-wise. It was a big advantage last year and can help us this year.
“It’s always a little bit easier when you do it all on your own. You have much more synergies between the teams, and also with the lineup.
“Over 95 percent of my team are Europeans, and last year it was a mix with Americans.
“Sometimes it was a little bit difficult to work, but we managed it well. The easier way is to make it one team, and this is the approach we have now.”
Regarding the No. 19 car’s full-season driver lineup, Grasser said: “It’s an awesome combination and we’re also really impressed with Misha who’s done a really good job.
“He was awesome in the [Daytona qualifying] race and is a nice guy to work with. He fits very well with the team now.”
Goikhberg and Perera are joined by Albert Costa and Tim Zimmermann for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona season-opener, while the No. 111 sister car is being driven by Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli, Steijn Schothorst and Rolf Ineichen.
GTWC Europe Pro Car for 24H Spa Only
Grasser also clarified that GRT’s return to Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup currently consists of a full-season effort in the Silver Cup-class, while its Pro involvement is only set to extend to an entry for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The team previously declared an intention to compete with cars in both Pro and Silver Cup, but it now appears that the Silver entry will represent its sole full-time effort.
24-year-old Zimmermann is the first confirmed member of the Silver crew which is set to involve two more drivers from Lamborghini’s ‘GT3 Junior’ development pool.
The drivers of the Pro entry for the GTWC Europe headline round at Spa have yet to be confirmed.
GRT crews won the Endurance and Overall titles in 2017 and remained in the series for the next two seasons before switching over to IMSA at the start of last year.
“We won the championship, but we have never won Spa,” said Grasser.
“This is the motivation. I love this race, really very much. It’s a beautiful race but tough. You have to try it again and again. With Spa we have some open topics to cover.
“It’s something that we decided [on] quite easily. In July there are not many races for IMSA and ADAC GT Masters, so the team is quite open to do it.
“If we had gone with a Pro full-season car, honestly it would have been difficult for the crew, with four cars in ADAC plus the other things.”
GRT is still planning to run a quartet of Huracans in GT Masters, with Grasser indicating that an announcement on the internally-confirmed driver lineups will be made soon.