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SDR Evaluating Manufacturer, Chassis Options for 2016

VisitFlorida.com Racing evaluating manufacturer options for 2016…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

While having enjoyed a successful multi-year partnership with Chevrolet, VisitFlorida.com Racing could make the switch to a new engine and chassis manufacturer by as early as next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Team owner Troy Flis confirmed to Sportscar365 that he’s in discussions with two additional engine manufacturers, as well as chassis constructors, that may result in an early transition to a P2-based Prototype.

“We have been speaking to other manufacturers,” Flis told Sportscar365. “If Chevrolet doesn’t commit to our program, then we’d need to start making our alliances and get those relationships started.

“We’ve been with Chevrolet for five-plus years. We have a great relationship there and great people to work with. But we have to come out of our little garage a little bit and start looking.”

Flis said remaining with GM would be their leading option, but with the Detroit manufacturer not yet confirming its 2017 IMSA Prototype plans, it’s left the longtime team owner in a difficult situation.

Sportscar365 understands a single, factory-backed program around another existing Corvette DP team appears to be the leading option for GM, which could revive the Cadillac brand in top-level prototype competition.

“We have looked, just because of Chevrolet’s positioning right now, they don’t know what’s going to happen in ’17,” Flis said.

“We’re still working with them and [are] really wanting to wait to know what they’re going to do because our relationship with them is so good.

“If there’s any way we can be a part of it, we would love to be a part of it.”

As previously revealed by Sportscar365, Flis had been evaluating a move to P2 machinery for next year, and should they commit to the platform, he said it would not be with a GM engine.

He said the potential switch would help get the team acclimated with P2 machinery prior to the arrival of the new global P2-based regulations in 2017, and has used this weekend’s event at COTA to meet with manufacturers.

“We’d like to start the sooner the better,” he said. “We got to see the new Oreca [05] here, which was our plan. We met with them on the car side and looked at it.

“We also met with [Onroak Automotive] on their plans and where they’re headed and have met with Riley and Multimatic [as well].

“We’re still doing our reconnaissance. It seems to me that there are still some things that are not tied up all the way on what’s what and what packages go with what car.

“Our main goal is to win this championship and go after it. At the same side, we don’t want to leave anything left that we’re behind for ’16 or ’17.”

A final decision on the the 2016 plans for the current TUDOR United SportsCar Championship P class points leaders is expected to come by early next month.

“I’m hoping by Petit [Le Mans] that we’ll have a real good idea of going into next year,” Flis said. “We’ll be back for ’16 in Prototype for sure. Hopefully it will be how it starts our building process into ’17.”

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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