With the Blancpain GT World Challenge America season debut at Circuit of The Americas just days away, series stalwarts CRP Racing find themselves in the unusual position of trying to put together a program to continue its involvement in the championship.
The North Carolina-based team campaigned a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in GT3 competition last year with a revolving driver lineup that included Daniel Morad, Fabian Schiller, Matty Brabham, Raffaele Marciello and Michael Cooper at various points in the season.
While team owner Nick Short said the team still has its Mercedes chassis, the loss of longtime sponsor DeVilbiss, as part of the company’s broader withdrawal from motorsports, left his team on the lookout for new opportunities.
“DeVilbiss decided not to renew, but I’ve had a good run with them,” Short told Sportscar365. “They’ve been really good people, but they decided to pull out.
“I was working with some Germans to put together a deal and that fell through, and I’m not just wanting to take something to take something, so it looks like unless something last minute comes through I won’t be starting World Challenge for the first time in something like ten years.
“It’s sort of odd and ironic because it seems that it’s really blossoming this year with all the factory teams coming back or turning up.
“It looks like the car count will be up in World Challenge, so that’s a good thing. We’re doing our vintage stuff but I don’t know what we’re going to be doing professionally this year.”
In previous years, CRP had been exploring possible programs in IMSA, which Short indicated was still an option and added that he has an interest in both GT3 and GT4.
But Short also admitted that the team could take a hiatus from professional competition and focus on historic racing unless the right deal can be found, citing the approach taken by Starworks Motorsport as an example of how time away can reposition a team to return to top-level sports car racing.
“We’ve got a ton of historic cars right now and we’re doing three or four restorations, so that’s pretty good for us right now, it keeps us busy,” he said.
“With IMSA and SRO America, we’re exploring all options. I operate on the premise that you go after the fastest and the best and I think we’re a pretty decent little team.
“We’ve won races. We hold track records. We play well with the big guys, but we might step back a year if we can’t get anything in the right way. Do a [Starworks team owner] Peter Baron, maybe. Step back, reevaluate, but we’ll see what comes up.”