DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian has described this weekend as the “biggest operation we have ever run” with the U.S. squad, along with several others, fielding multiple cars in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series races at Silverstone.
The logistical challenge for DragonSpeed, along with Gulf Racing, TDS Racing and Proton Competition — which are all pulling double-duty — sees their equipment split between two pit lanes, as well as selected crew and drivers making multiple trips back and forth.
Julian’s DragonSpeed squad has a total of three cars in action, with an Oreca 07 Gibson entered in both WEC and ELMS races, along with its BR Engineering BR1 Gibson in LMP1.
Nico Lapierre, Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman will co-drive the ELMS Oreca while Hanley and Hedman also share the BR1 with Renger van der Zande.
Lapierre is then listed to drive for Signatech Alpine in WEC, with Anthony Davidson, Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez piloting DragonSpeed’s world championship Oreca.
Julian said the team is managing the logistical squeeze but has questioned the implementation of back-to-back sessions.
“It’s not a complaint but why?” he told Sportscar365. “We know that WEC is a five-race championship this year so everybody needs work.
“You have all these people that are working both championships to earn a living, from mechanics to engineers and a couple of teams.”
Julian has employed a full staff on its ELMS car, although a handful of engineers will cross over between the paddocks.
It will include the team boss himself, who said he will need to make 18 trips back and forth, having rigorously practiced the 1.2-mile return journey prior to the start of the weekend.
“The best time we’ve done so far is 16 minutes with the golf cart, and that’s in the dry,” he said.
“What happens if F3 gets pulled out to the grid? I’m not looking forward to it but it is what it is. I need a little jetpack!
“The pros [Lapierre and Hanley] will drive first in ELMS session, then leave and Henrik runs to end and arrives late [for WEC].”
More Staff Helping Gulf Split Duties
Gulf Racing team manager Owen Daley said the team has expanded its staff for the weekend and that its ELMS squad will help the WEC operation once Saturday’s race finishes.
Ben Barker, Alex Davison and Michael Wainwright will share both cars for a combined 10 hours of racing.
“We’re not geared up like how Christian [Ried, Proton] is with the amount of stuff he’s got,” Daley said.
“For example, we’ve only got one truck and we’ve had to rent one in for this weekend, which broke down. It’s a challenging event because of that sort of thing.
“But we’ve got some great people who have done well organizing it. We’re on top of things.”
The team has a container that needs to be packed and ready to be shipped to Fuji for the first WEC flyaway round in October.
“On top of managing the logistics for being here and everything we’re doing, on the back of it we’ve got this freight requirement,” said Daley.
“It’s busy, but you could argue it helps because we’ve got more people than we would normally at one of these events because we’ve got two cars.
“Strictly speaking the ELMS crew will be free of their duties on Saturday evening so they’ll come over after the race to help with some packing up and things like that.”
Barker added that the WEC round is the priority for Gulf this weekend and that the purpose of double-duty is to give Bronze-rated Wainwright more track time.
“We’re not in the [ELMS] championship so it’s more for Mike to get some experience,” he said. “We’re very much focused on the WEC, that’s for sure.
“We raced [the WEC] car at the first round at Paul Ricard, so we’ve got some idea and some experience on the Dunlops.”
John Dagys contributed to this report