After a tough year on and off the track, Tim Pappas is contemplating Black Swan Racing’s future, which could include a return to either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge, or the team even taking a sabbatical from the sport.
The former American Le Mans Series GTC champion withdrew from WeatherTech Championship competition mid-year following the death of his father but returned to racing in the final two PWC rounds of the season with his Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Pappas said a decision on his 2017 plans have not yet been made, but is in no rush.
“In my mind, there’s several versions of 2017 that unfold. I just don’t know how much commitment I can make on the racing side,” Pappas told Sportscar365.
“I want to see what happens in the next 30-45 days before I say anything. I really don’t have a lot of pressure on me.
“All I want to do is go out there, have a great experience, have fun, be competitive and exercise this passion I have in cars.
“If I can’t do that… If it’s just going to be a constant battle with the politics and all of these other factors, then there’s so many better things to do with my time and resources.
“Right now we’re taking a real wait-and-see.”
The team’s 2016 campaign got off to a strong start at Daytona, with Pappas and co-drivers Nicky Catsburg, Andy Pilgrim and Porsche factory driver Patrick Long scoring a second place class finish in GT Daytona, but failed to reach the podium again in four additional starts.
Pappas’ end-of-year run in PWC, which included outings at Sonoma Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, was highlighted by a pair of runner-up finishes in Monterey, both in Sprint and SprintX competition.
“We’re very encouraged by what happened at Laguna Seca,” he said. “It was definitely nice after a really hard season to bring it all together… But we had a lot of frustration and not-so-fun moments this season.
“That’s why I’m sitting here not totally re-energized by what happened at the end of the season. The situation in my family is really one of the hardest factors in that.”
While enjoying the endurance racing nature of the sport, Pappas cited concerns for IMSA’s driver rating system, which has seen a number of so-called “fake Silvers” fly under the radar and disrupt the Pro-Am-enforced class.
Should Pappas commit to a program, he hasn’t ruled out a potential switch in GT3 machinery, although the Silver-rated driver said he’s been pleased with Porsche’s support through the years.
The team previously ran a Dodge Viper GT3-R, which has since been sold to McCann Racing, and prior to that, a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, both in PWC competition.
“The dilemma of deciding whether or not I want to come back is at the forefront right now,” he said. “First I have to answer that question.
“We’re definitely considering the pros and cons of the two series. I think we have to make decision one, then follow it on with the other decisions. Right at the moment, there’s a lot of noise and a lot of things to get through.”