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DragonSpeed “Tempted” to Enter 12H Sebring

DragonSpeed interested in contesting both races in next year’s Sebring double-header…

Photo: MPS Agency

DragonSpeed is considering an entry into next year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in addition to its FIA World Endurance Championship commitments at the Florida circuit that weekend.

Team owner Elton Julian told Sportscar365 that the necessary equipment will be in place to perform double duty on the March 14-17 event with an additional Oreca 07 Gibson alongside its full-season WEC LMP1 and LMP2 entries.

Julian, however, stressed that a decision on the possible IMSA effort has not yet been made.

DragonSpeed announced last month that it will contest the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January with an Oreca in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s newly-formed LMP2 class.

It last raced at Sebring in 2016 when Nicolas Lapierre, Henrik Hedman and Nicolas Minassian finished fourth in the the race in an Oreca 05 Nissan.

“We’re tempted to run Sebring IMSA,” said Julian. “We’ll be there and it’s not too hard [to do].

“We did Silverstone this year with all three cars and it was the day after, so we’ve done it once this year and we pulled some good results in the ELMS that weekend, finishing second.

“It’s doable, but it’s hypothetical. We could do it, but we’re also deciding what we’re going to do in the ELMS and we have some other plans that we’re going to announce shortly.”

Julian is still weighing up the team’s sports car racing options for next year, with the tail end of a dual LMP1 and LMP2 WEC program still to run.

He expects to return to the ELMS in 2018 with a minimum one-car entry, while plans are also coming into place for the 2019-20 WEC season.

“I think the LMP2 is looking likely and the LMP1 is 100 percent up to the series,” he said.

“If we can have some consistency [with the Equivalence of Technology] and we can run and test as we plan – and not change every five minutes – then we’ll consider it.

“They need to fix a lot of the EoT issues and the consistency of what we’re doing before we even think about 2019-20.”

EoT Caused Fuji Downforce Swap

Julian said that difficulties relating to the EoT for the previous WEC round at Fuji forced DragonSpeed to change its LMP1 aero kit mid-weekend.

The No. 10 BR Engineering BR1 Gibson initially ran a high downforce package but switched to the ill-suited low downforce option when it started to struggle with its fuel allocation.

“We couldn’t make the fuel number with the sprint package,” said Julian.

“It had too much drag, so we went to the Le Mans kit, which was four seconds slower, purely because of the bad EoT.

“We were miles away from making the fuel number – we were lifting and coasting 400 meters before the brake marker board.

“That’s where you really need a BoP, because this V8 Dallara[-built BR1 Gibson] is much more draggy than the Rebellion [R13 Gibson]. And then you have the V6 turbo Dallara[-built BR1 AER] which doesn’t get hurt as much, but they give us all the same fuel.

“In this case, we were the weakest link because we had a thirstier engine with a draggier car.”

The non-hybrid fuel flow rate has been increased for Shanghai but Julian suggested it will be difficult to tell how effective the most recent change has been if the current wet conditions persist.

DragonSpeed is running with its high-downforce package at Shanghai, although it missed Friday’s opening free practice session due to sensor issues.

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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