Multimatic has lodged a last-minute bid to be on the grid for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, with the organization exploring three “very serious” inquiries, according to motorsports operations boss Larry Holt.
Holt has revealed that they’ve received an entry extension from the WEC for the potential privateer effort that could be in either the GTE-Pro or GTE-Am classes and supported by Ford.
Entries for the upcoming season closed on May 21 and are due to be announced on Friday, although Sportscar365 understands the series has been faced with fewer-than-expected full-season requests.
While Multimatic President and COO Raj Nair ruled out any Multimatic-entered Fords for next season just last week, Holt has continued to work on possible options after gaining the approval of series organizers.
“We got a bit of an extension because we’ve got three very serious inquiries on running either privately-funded Pro cars or privately-funded Pro-Am cars,” Holt told Sportscar365.
“A couple of them are weirdly tied to a bigger program potentially in the future, around the top class.”
Holt explained the identities of the three interested parties have been “heavily involved” in racing in team operation/ownership capacities in the past and are now looking at “coming back to do something different” with a GTE effort serving as an interim program prior to a move to the yet-to-be-confirmed top class.
He said two of the prospective customers had their eyes on the so-called ‘GTE Plus’ concept that had been discussed between manufacturers and had been an option to replace the FIA and ACO’s proposed Hypercar formula.
However, Sportscar365 understands those talks broke down late last month, with a revised set of Hypercar regs set to be announced on Friday.
“The private guys are all excited about this concept of GTE-Plus,” Holt said. “That was attractive to a bunch of people who said it looked like an affordable top class with a GT car.
“Every time someone interviews me about how quick a Ford GT GTE-Plus car could go, and I always say 3:30 because that’s the time they want.
“It could probably do a 3:30-35. There are around 490 horsepower.”
Holt said Ford would commit to the WEC’s manufacturer fees and provide customer support, in the sale or lease of the cars, as well as an engine program.
“I would prefer a full-season effort, and I want to support the WEC,” Holt said. “It’s hard-pressed to get a one-off entry in anyway.
“I’m highly supportive of the WEC and I think that if you go to Le Mans, you should go through the series. It’s the right thing to do, and you get one automatically.”
More clarity on a potential effort could be known later this week.
Holt: WEC Super Season “Screwed Up” What Was Four-Year Ford Factory Deal
Holt has been making an active effort to keep his European-based crew, which currently operates Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s factory WEC program, afloat through various programs.
The composition of the WEC’s ‘Super Season’ affected the its factory GTE-Pro effort, which will end after a three-and-a-half year run following this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“The thing that screwed us up was that it was a two-year deal that got extended to a four-year deal, but then these guys changed their season, which made my deal a three-and-a-half year deal,” Holt said.
“It’s difficult for everybody. If I were to shut down, which I’m not, my drivers would be in a bad position because you don’t get half a season in anything.
“We’re continuing. Everybody is still on the payroll. We’ve got a great big shop and two GT4 Mustangs out of the corner of it. That’s what we’re doing at the moment.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report