The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is set to see a new addition to the Prototype grid next year, with a startup team targeting a run in the Tequila Parton North American Endurance Cup rounds with a DP car.
First revealed last week by Sportscar365, details have emerged on RG Racing, a new Ohio-based team formed by Robert Gewirtz.
Gewirtz, a NASA club racer, was initially seeking a seat with an existing DP team, but with few opportunities available, the Columbus area Neurosurgeon formed his own squad, having purchased a Riley DP from Michael Shank Racing.
“Right now, in the state of this series, there really isn’t room for anybody who just wants to buy a seat on a team, particularly if you’re not going to commit for an entire season,” Gewirtz told Sportscar365. “Unfortunately because of my day job, that would be really, really hard for me to do.
“I thought if I ever want to drive a DP in the [Rolex] 24, the only way that it’s going to happen is if I make it happen for myself.
“I had Mike [Shank] update it to the 2015 specs, got a motor. I bought up a bunch of spares that Team Sahlen’s still had. I bought a bunch of spares and pit equipment from the GAINSCO guys. Now I’ve assembled all of the pieces.”
Former DP entrant Steve Southard has assisted Gewirtz with shop space as well as lending former Southard Motorsports crew chief Rich Howe to lead the effort.
The team completed a successful shakedown at Putnam Park last week, with sports car racing ace Shane Lewis joining Gewirtz at the wheel of the Riley DP, now powered by a 5.0-liter BMW-based Dinan engine.
Gewirtz said Mark Kvamme could also join he and Lewis for the Rolex 24, with Kvamme set to get his first taste of a DP during next month’s HSR race at Daytona, where Gewirtz has entered his ex-Southard Motorsports Gen-1 Riley.
While the search continues for additional funded drivers, as well as potential sponsorship, Gewirtz is hopeful of contesting the entire four-round Patron Endurance Cup.
“I would really like to do the whole endurance championship; that’s my goal,” said Gewirtz, who made his Rolex 24 debut this year in a Muehlner Motorsports Porsche this year.
“We have to take it one step at a time. The first step is to get to the Roar and the 24. But what I’m working on is putting together a package for the entire four endurance races.”
As for his team’s future and possible goals of expansion, Gewirtz is taking a realistic approach.
“I’ve had that talk with Mike Shank,” he said. “The reality is that the car I have will be good for the next two seasons. Then what’s coming after that, who exactly knows.
“The way Mike described it, you’ll either be completely sick of it or you’re going to have to have the needle all the way in the vein and you won’t want to give up.
“If I can be successful at this, it would be fantastic. There’s a lot of if’s, but it’s an exciting prospect.”