While Coyote Cars has gotten off to a strong start in the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, with its DP chassis sitting first, second and third in the Prototype class championship, its future direction has yet to be determined amid the upcoming arrival of new global LMP2 regulations.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Coyote CEO Gary Nelson revealed the North Carolina-based constructor is taking a wait-and-see approach on whether to submit a bid to become one of the approved chassis manufacturers for 2017, a factor largely to be determined on costs and manufacturer support.
“It’s kind of sad to see the sport going in a different direction,” Nelson told Sportscar365.
“We got so competitive with the pricing and the on track performance with the Coyote [DP] that we’ve got a system rolling that our customers are realizing the prices are lower and the cars are competitive.
“But on the other hand, we understand progress needs to happen and the series will move forward with cars that will identify with manufacturers.
“If that’s the case, and a manufacturer would partner with Coyote, we would like to see that happen… to produce a P2 car [with the success] that we’ve been fortunate enough to have with the DP car.”
Nelson confirmed talks with Chevrolet, who they currently have a successful partnership with its Corvette DP-bodied cars, although no decision has been made on whether to move forward.
One of the biggest concerns according to Nelson is escalating costs, particularly with being able to deliver a return on investment with the necessary re-tooling to carbon fiber componentry.
“They’ve announced it would be a carbon fiber tub,” he said. “Our [DPs] are welded steel and that’s what we build at Coyote.
“We’d love to be one of the North American constructors but we also have to weigh if there will be a profit in it.
“From a business model, we’d have to look at it from how many cars we could potentially sell and how much it would cost us to tool up all of the molds to make the carbon parts.
“I’m hearing there are upwards of several hundred molds required to build a carbon tub.
“If that’s the case, engineering the mold and making the mold, and before you even make the first part, is a big investment.”
Nelson said they will not likely make a decision until June, once the full details on the 2017 regulations are released by the ACO, FIA and IMSA.
“We’d very much like to be a player in road racing in North America moving forward,” Nelson said. “We just have to make sure it makes sense.”
It’s understood there are no fewer than three other manufacturers in the running to become at least one of the selected North American-based constructors, including HPD, Riley Technologies and Multimatic.
The ACO has proposed that at least one constructor be North American-based.