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Racing Team Nederland Eyeing IMSA Switch

LMP2 Bronze-rated driver mandate eyeing Racing Team Nederland to WeatherTech Championship…

Photo: Racing Team Nederland

Racing Team Nederland could make the switch to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with an end-of-season debut not ruled out according to team principal Frits van Eerd.

The Dutch squad, which currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship, has eyed up a potential move largely due to the new-for-2020 IMSA regulations that mandate a Bronze-rated driver in each LMP2 car.

Van Eerd, who became the first and only Bronze-rated driver to win in WEC competition in last year’s 6 Hours of Fuji, told Sportscar365 that it’s “not a money issue” but rather a “championship issue” in terms of the WEC’s current regulations.

“The main reason I don’t know [for next year] is because of all the regulations [discussions] about the Bronze driver in WEC,” he said. “I think they want to stay friends with everybody.

“For me it’s completely silly they allow Silver drivers and Bronze drivers in the same category. I’m always in a huge disadvantage. Why should I do this?

“On one hand, [if they say] all teams need a Bronze driver, they’d lose a few teams. The other way around, they’d lose a few teams too.

“But they’ve never been very consistent on what to do or what not to do. 

“We’re stuck in the middle and that doesn’t feel good.”

Van Eerd, the owner of the Jumbo supermarket chain, which sponsors a number of Dutch drivers in the sport, said he would happily compete where he has the best chance as a gentlemen driver.

Either way, Van Eerd anticipates remaining with TDS Racing as the team’s operational partner.

“We’re looking at WEC and I’m also looking at IMSA, for the full season,” he said.

“For me, if there’s only five or six cars on the grid in WEC then I don’t see the logic behind it to stay in WEC.

“I will do what’s the most convenient and most competitive championship for me.”

The LMP2 class in the WeatherTech Championship has seen a significant boost since the introduction of the Bronze mandate, with at least five cars set for the 2020 season.

It includes entries from DragonSpeed and Tower Motorsport by Starworks, which have committed specifically due to the Bronze mandate for their drivers Henrik Hedman and John Farano, respectively.

Van Eerd currently gives his chances of a move to IMSA at “50/50” although will know more in the coming weeks.

“We’re looking at it and at Sebring we’ll know more,” he said. “From now until Sebring we want to have all of the figures on the table and let’s make a plan.”

When asked if an end-of-season one-off could be on the cards, the Dutchman said “I think so, yeah, to give it a try.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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