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Millennium Withdraws from Silverstone

Delay in funding forces Delta-operated squad out of Silverstone…

Photo: Laurent Chauveau/Endurance-Info

Photo: Laurent Chauveau/Endurance-Info

Millennium Racing has withdrawn from this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone due to a delay in receiving funding.

According to a statement released by the team on Tuesday, funds from Millennium’s parent company OMD have yet to be released by a “major international bank,” despite having been deposited in early January.

A decision issued by the International Court of Justice confirmed the legitimacy of the UAE-backed firm to own and use the funds and instructed the World Bank to release the money. The team said the decision is currently being processed.

“OMD will be able to fulfill all its commitments in the coming days, including for the Millennium program which will then start according to the plan,” said OMD managing director Bertrand Vallois.

“This program is very important for our future developments and we are looking forward to the next steps.”

The two-car Oreca 03 Nissan effort, run by defending Silverstone class winners Delta Motorsport, was to be driven by John Martin, Oliver Turvey, Fabien Giroix (No. 22) and Stefan Johansson, Shinji Nakano and Mike Conway (No. 23).

Conway, a Toyota LMP1 test and reserve driver, was looking to claim back-to-back victories following his win in last weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

The team, which also made a late withdrew from the Twelve Hours of Sebring, had completed a shakedown of the two cars yesterday at an airfield in England.

“We are all devastated to miss the first round of the championship,” said team principal Simon Dowson. “The team has worked really hard over the winter but we will have to wait until Spa to show our performance.

“Our program has always been based on a long term partnership and alongside our disappointment of missing Silverstone we have to stay positive about our future plans.

“I would like to thank all our partners and the FIA WEC for their support during a difficult few months; I could not have asked for anything more.”

Millennium’s withdrawal leaves just four LMP2 cars for this weekend’s season opener, following Strakka Racing’s announcement that its new Strakka-Dome S103 Nissan would not be ready until the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Two of the remaining entries are from SMP Racing, which confirmed Tuesday that it will race despite government sanctions being imposed on the Russian-backed organization’s team owner that’s resulted in a freeze of its European bank account.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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