Team Penske could get a jump start on its planned re-entry into prototype competition later this year, with the team investigating a possible end-of-season run at the Motul Petit Le Mans.
Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that Penske is looking to enter an Oreca 07 Gibson in the ten-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale, potentially with a lineup featuring its IndyCar star drivers, ahead of the team’s yet-to-be-announced DPi program in 2018.
It’s understood the team has already taken delivery of an Oreca LMP2 car, which has been used for evaluation purposes as it ramps up efforts for its likely factory deal with Honda, which is set to utilize the French constructor’s chassis.
Team Penske President Tim Cindric, who attended last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, said that a decision on a potential Petit Le Mans effort has not yet been made.
“This is something that we have considered but we won’t be sure whether it is feasible until we better understand the status of our core program,” Cindric told Sportscar365.
“I’m sure this discussion surfaced after I attended The Glen and inquired with IMSA about some of the requirements.”
Penske’s Porsche RS Spyder effort featured a similar launch strategy, which saw the team and car debut in the American Le Mans Series season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005, prior to a full two-car effort the following year.
The team went on to claim three consecutive LMP2 championships, followed by a jump to Grand-Am in 2009 for a single season, with the famed open-wheel and NASCAR squad not having mounted a sports car racing program since.
It’s believed a formal announcement on Penske’s DPi plans will likely be made later this summer.