Spirit of Daytona Racing looks set to miss January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, as the organization regroups around a newly found business opportunity, according to team owner Troy Flis.
The Florida-based squad, which has been absent from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, had been working on multiple options for a full-season return to prototype competition, including a rumored customer Mazda DPi effort.
However, with a self-imposed deadline of Dec. 15 to finalize a 2019 program, Flis has admitted that the prospects of being on the grid for the season-opener now appear slim.
“Right now, it’s been really tough for us to find the funding and backing to keep doing what we’re doing,” he told Sportscar365
“As we move forward, we’re looking at a longer-term deal, if we can get involved with a manufacturer or a program that makes sense, but not us being the marketing company, per-say, and not always looking for money to race, we would do it.
“Our goal is to be a tool for someone to go racing.
“We have everything to go racing but we just can’t find the marketing side to be able to make it happen. We’ll keep trying and see if we can do it.”
Should a program not materialize at the last minute, it would mark the first time Flis will not have a car in the Rolex 24 since 2004, in the early years of the DP era.
“Missing Daytona, after having run it for 15-16 years straight, would be a hard one,” he said. “But that’s racing and it’s part of it.”
SDR Planning Coyote DP Support Role
While not giving up on its aspirations as a team, Flis indicated they will likely shift its focus into a customer support and constructor role with the Coyote DP chassis.
He said his organization holds the intellectual property of the Coyote DP, which continues to be run in historic racing as well as a being a popular choice among gentlemen drivers as track day cars.
A total of six Coyote-chassied DPs are currently competing in HSR, which could provide a strong business model.
“We’re going to refocus our business plan on doing something that’s a longer-term deal,” Flis said. “It can be something where we can have a future in building cars and supporting teams.
“I think it’s the better way of going in this industry. I want to stay in this industry if we can.”