Inter Europol Competition is plotting additional IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races for next year, including a run in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and two additional Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
The Polish squad, which made its series debut in last month’s Motul Petit Le Mans, is in the planning stages of an IMSA program alongside its already-confirmed 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign with an Oreca 07 Gibson.
According to team manager Sascha Fassbender, the team is looking to utilize its WEC chassis for the twice-around-the-clock Florida endurance classic as well as the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans next year.
“That’s what we’re working on for the moment,” he told Sportscar365.
“It’s up to the shipment of the car and how it works time-wise from when it’s in Europe and when we need to send it to Asia.
“But we want to do Watkins Glen and Petit next year. We need to see how that will work out.”
Fassbender said his main priority has been securing a lineup for Daytona, which would allow for a U.S.-based testing program between the Rolex 24 and the WEC season-opener at Sebring in March.
The team is slated to take delivery of its new Oreca LMP2 car next week, which will be fitted in 2021 WEC/European Le Mans Series configuration but can be easily converted to IMSA-spec.
“The car would stay [in America],” Fassbender said. “We will use a workshop in the U.S. and for sure we would do testing between Daytona and Sebring.”
A run in next year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has been ruled out, Fassbender said, as it focuses entirely on its WEC program in the ‘Super Sebring’ weekend.
Drivers for the 2021 IMSA Endurance Cup program are not yet finalized other than Silver-rated Kuba Smiechowski, who is also confirmed for the team’s WEC program next year.
“I’m just waiting on final confirmation from a Bronze driver,” Fassbender said. “This is the most difficult, to get a Bronze driver that other drivers want to join.
“You can have the richest Bronze driver in the world but if he’s ten seconds off [the pace] nobody will join him.
“At the moment this is my main work, to try and find the right Bronze driver that wants to do it and has a decent budget to pay for it.”
Petit Le Mans, 12H Sebring “Perfect Preparation” for 2021 Oreca Switch
Fassbender explained that its its foray into WeatherTech Championship competition this year — contesting both Petit Le Mans and next weekend’s Twelve Hours of Sebring — has helped them prepare for the 2021 WEC program with its new Oreca LMP2 car, after multiple seasons with Ligier JS P217 Gibson machinery in Europe.
While having forged a partnership with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports that includes the lease of a U.S.-based chassis, Inter Europol has utilized its full German-based crew that worked the European Le Mans Series this year.
“We’re using these two races so our mechanics get used to the car, so Kuba gets used to the car,” Fassbender explained. “We’re learning as much as possible from these two races.
“We have a joint venture with PR1 for these two races. It was something to take as a support for the team but we’re prepared to do races on our own.
“There are differences between IMSA and FIA from what we’re doing in Europe or Asia, like the fuel restrictors. You can make many mistakes if you go there for the first time without any support from somebody who’s done it already.
“That’s more or less the intention for our team, to have done these two races to get to know IMSA, of the Oreca, for the drivers with the Oreca and collecting as much data as possible for simulations we will do over the winter with the car.
“[The Twelve Hours] of Sebring gives us perfect preparation for the first WEC race in March.”
Fassbender said the team is looking to build on its third place class finish at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta despite a change of lineup for the 2020 season finale.
Newly crowned IMSA Prototype Challenge champions Matt Bell and Naveen Rao will join Smiechowski for Sebring after Austin McCusker and Rob Hodes competed alongside the Polish driver in the ten-hour enduro.
“We had no huge expectations for Petit Le Mans,” Fassbender said. “It was just arriving there and get to know the things. There was no priority.
“Sure we always said we wanted to finish on the podium. We finally did that although it took nine and a half hours.
“For sure for Sebring, we’ll be hoping for a little bit more.”