Juncos Racing team owner Ricardo Juncos says he wasn’t expecting his foray into sports car racing to be in the top DPi class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but said he’s eager for the challenge.
The Argentinian, whose open-wheel team has established itself as a powerhouse on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and expanded into the Verizon IndyCar series in recent years, said he made the trip to the recent IMSA round at Road America fully intending to join the championship in 2019.
What he didn’t expect was a promising meeting with Cadillac to result in the announcement of a Cadillac DPi-V.R program just weeks later.
“We had some options with possible GT3 and GT4 drivers actually, which is still going on, and potential drivers for LMP3,” Juncos said.
“But now with the DPi program, we have to focus on that program 100 percent and that will change a little bit what will happen with the other opportunities.
“That was pretty much the original idea going forward and that’s why I went to Road America. Obviously things changed pretty quickly.
“I’m talking to a pretty high-level quantity of drivers going to have options and talking to the DPi program.
“We’ve raised the game here big time in the last ten days, which I was not expecting to be the case to be honest, but now it’s happening and we’re going to make sure we perform under the circumstances.”
Juncos said it was too early to comment on potential drivers for the program, but he indicated that drivers with previous endurance racing experience would be beneficial to a nascent program.
He noted that while his team is regarded to be very effective in shepherding young drivers through the open-wheel ranks, Juncos Racing graduates are active in sports car racing as well and could be under consideration.
“It’s obviously new for me, but you can have five drivers for a 24-hour race, so most likely I would like to have good drivers and I’m talking with a lot of those options,” he said.
“Drivers with a lot of experience already on endurance races, either from Europe or from IMSA, that’s what I’m going to focus on.
“But this year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans there were six drivers that were a part of the Juncos family at some point in their careers, so it could be someone who already has a relationship with us.
“At this moment, I don’t know yet how exactly it’s going to play out but I’m in the process to find those drivers. I want to make sure that I take my time and analyze properly every opportunity and every option.”
Juncos added that he plans to utilize his connections in Argentina both from a driving standpoint and commercially to aid the growth of the program.
“We’re talking about the biggest series here [IMSA],” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, there are a lot of Argentinian drivers in the high levels of sports cars as well, and I’m actually talking to a few of those guys and will be meeting with the Argentinian government probably in September for future opportunities as well.
“It’s a good opportunity now for my country to promote tourism and to put Argentina in areas where it is not today. I think IMSA can be a great opportunity to do that.”