Gulf Racing has revealed plans to enter its second Porsche 911 RSR in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as selected FIA World Endurance Championship races next year.
The British outfit, which purchased two of the mid-engined GTE cars for this year, will submit an entry request for its second Porsche for the 2019 race, according to team manager Owen Daley.
Its No. 86 entry of Ben Barker, Alex Davison and Michael Wainwright has already secured a slot for next year’s race, courtesy of its full-season WEC entry in GTE-Am, but would be seeking an entry from the ACO Selection Committee for the second Porsche.
“It was always the plan to do a doubleheader [program] with that car this year,” Daley told Sportscar365.
“We had an opportunity of having both cars from a financial point of view, but we couldn’t get a place.
“It was clear that there was going to be a restriction on the number of spots available in WEC, so we had to let that go. We still applied for that car to go to Le Mans, but we didn’t get on the reserve list.
“We’ve got two cars and we want them both to be running, ideally together because it’s more efficient. But you take what you can.”
Gulf’s second Porsche chassis made its debut in last weekend’s European Le Mans Series round at Silverstone, which saw the same driving trio place fifth in class, which was primarily used as a warmup to Sunday’s WEC race.
Daley said he’s spoken to WEC officials about running the second car at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans but admitted the former would be unlikely due to a lack of space.
“The problem with Sebring is that there’s a restriction because they’re building a pit for 36 cars, so unless people drop away, which is possible, there’s going to be no space,” he said.
“It’s possible, there’s a bit of time to do that. But I’d rather not do it last-minute.
“Spa is not an issue so I think we might put an entry up for there. But it’s nice to do things as a package to say, ‘you’ve got Sebring, Spa and Le Mans’ – it’s a really nice, quite attractive package for that sort of car.
“Also, anybody who’s doing Le Mans won’t want to jump in straight away at Le Mans. They want to do Spa, so that’s helpful.”
Daley ruled out the new chassis making any further appearances this year beyond last weekend’s ELMS race.
“We were talking about doing some other stuff, but we weren’t sure how realistic it would be with everything else going on,” said Daley.
“I think the primary focus would be to try to get that car to Sebring.”
No Update on Second Batch of Porsche Customer Cars
Porsche has not yet defined a specific timeframe for deliveries of its second batch of customer GTE cars, according to GT boss Frank-Steffen Walliser.
The German manufacturer confirmed to Sportscar365 in June that up to five additional cars would be produced on top of the eight it’s already delivered to privateer teams for use in the WEC and ELMS.
“I think we will go step-by-step,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “We also have some collectors already asking for used cars, but it’s not our priority [right now].”
All 12 of Porsche’s active GTE cars were racing last weekend, across the WEC, ELMS and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races.
John Dagys contributed to this report