Visit Florida Racing could join the growing list of American teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Troy Flis-led squad preparing for a possible LMP2 program in next year’s French endurance classic.
“That’s what we’re hoping to do for next year,” Flis told Sportscar365. “Visit Florida really wants to go and we want to try and make that happen. We’re going to push very hard for it.”
Flis will be making the trip to Le Mans in June, as part of a recon mission in order to gain a better understanding of the resources needed to take his Florida-based team overseas.
“I’m excited about going to Le Mans this year to learn the lay of the land over there,” he said. “We’re going to go over there and hang out with Mike Shank and Bill Riley and see what they’re doing.
“The following week we’ll be at Goodwood with our two-seater car. Visit Florida is doing a big push over there, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.”
While the team is in the final stages of confirming its DPi package for next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Flis said they’d likely opt for a standard Gibson-engined LMP2 car for its proposed Le Mans program.
They would likely follow a similar route in which fellow IMSA competitor Michael Shank is taking this year, in linking up with a European-based team and utilizing their resources for the event.
“If we can get a team that runs in WEC or ELMS, we could look at that and say, ‘Hey, we’ll jump on board with you guys to do that race,'” Flis said.
“We’ll learn a lot this year [by being] at the race and see who we can work with and see if there’s a program over there we can jump into and piggyback for next year.”
Flis said he hopes to have news on its planned DPi program shortly, but has already confirmed a full-season effort with one car for the P class.
“I’m hoping to get the chassis [finalized] and being able to put an offer on a car in the next couple of weeks. That’s my goal,” he said.
While rumors have linked the team with a Riley-Mazda package for 2017, Flis said they’d had a number of options on the table.
He said multiple chassis and engine/bodywork combinations have been considered.
“If I went with a Riley, there’s a couple of different opportunities from realistic manufacturers,” he said. “If I’m going Dallara, I’m going [Cadillac]. We have different options.
“There’s also a lot of benefits to a Ligier package to us because they’re based [in France].
“Us coming over there to do that one race… If we can be a good home front team from here, but also be able to go do [Le Mans], it’s interesting for me because that’s a lot off my back.”
While the team would be making its Le Mans debut, Visit Florida served as a primary sponsor on HVM Status GP’s Lola B12/80 Judd in 2013. Florida Governor Rick Scott attended the race that year.