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DragonSpeed Scales Back IMSA Program to Focus on Le Mans

DragonSpeed to appear at Road America and 12H Sebring only following extra Le Mans entry…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

DragonSpeed has scaled back its program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to focus on its expanded two-car entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The LMP2 squad was originally set to contest the full IMSA season with its Oreca 07 Gibson, but its commitment to Le Mans with a second car has reduced it to only running at Road America next month and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in November.

DragonSpeed IMSA driver Henrik Hedman will share the additional No. 27 Oreca at Le Mans in September with Ben Hanley and Renger van der Zande, while the No. 21 car will be driven by Ryan Cullen, Memo Rojas and Pipo Derani.

Double Rolex 24 at Daytona winner van der Zande joins the crew in place of Felix Rosenqvist, who will be competing in the NTT IndyCar Series on the Le Mans weekend.

The lineup of Hedman, Hanley and van der Zande contested the last two editions of Le Mans in DragonSpeed’s LMP1-class BR Engineering BR1 Gibson, although the trio failed to finish on both occasions.

DragonSpeed gained an extra berth on this year’s LMP2 grid after a series of withdrawals from the main field enabled its second car to graduate from the reserve list.

But a statement from the team explained that the “demands of preparing and transporting” its IMSA car to France for Le Mans prompted a re-evaluation of the North American program.

It means DragonSpeed will be absent from the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen which is currently scheduled for Sept. 6, as well as Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 17 and the round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Nov. 1.

The team is then set to return for the season-ending 12 Hours of Sebring on Nov. 14.

“I’m so pleased to return for my fourth Le Mans,” said Hedman. “With victories at Daytona, Spa, and Paul Ricard, a top result at Le Mans is what’s left on my bucket list.

“Returning with Ben and Renger will be extra sweet, as the poor reliability of our LMP1 package the last two years really hampered our efforts as a team.

“Now we have a fair shot at our dream of a podium finish at Le Mans.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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