The Racer’s Group is closing in on a decision for its GT3 program next year, with the Kevin Buckler-led team in final negotiations with four different manufacturers for a planned multi-car effort.
The California-based squad, which has successfully run GT3 and GT4-spec Aston Martins since 2013 through its partnership with the British manufacturer, could end up with a new flagship GT program, according to the longtime team owner.
“I think it will all come into focus next week,” Buckler told Sportscar365. “I’m going to make an early decision.
“That kind of messed us up last year. Aston [Martin] dragged their feet with the [IMSA] manufacturer fee and it just took a long time and deals were already done by then.
“So we learned out lesson, don’t try and make a decision six weeks after Petit Le Mans.
“We’ve got a lot going on. We’ve got a lot of people looking to drive. They like what we do; we’re competitive.”
The team is fielding five Aston Martin Vantage GT4s in this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season finale, marking Buckler’s biggest single-race effort since the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.
He said plans are in place to continue its customer programs with Aston Martin and its new-for-2016 venture in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA.
However, securing a new manufacturer-backed GT3 program remains a top priority for the team, which has previously enjoyed successful factory backed efforts with Porsche and GM.
Buckler has made multiple trips to Europe to meet with manufacturers over the summer and admitted there’s been a high level of interest from both sides.
“The manufacturers are leaning in and saying, ‘Hey, who races the cars at a high level and then knows how to activate around the dealership events and corporate events and functions?’ And it’s always TRG,” he said.
“Some of those manufacturers are like, ‘Well, we should talk to them.’
“That happened about a year ago. That’s when the this conversation started and we’re trying to decide what’s best next year for us.”
Buckler said the GT3 deal would likely encompass the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge.
At least one full-season GT Daytona class entry is planned, alongside a likely second car for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance cup races.