EFFORT Racing announced late Friday that it has withdrawn from Pirelli World Challenge competition, with immediate effect, although vowing to return to the championship in 2017.
The Chicago area-based team, owned by Texas businessman Chuck Toups, has cited the current oil crisis as the reason for its sudden withdrawal from the sprint race championship.
Drivers Michael Lewis and Porsche factory ace Patrick Long currently sit fourth and fifth in the GT championship, with both drivers having visited victory lane in early season races.
“It is with great disappointment that we announce a halt to our 2016 season,” Toups said.
“We want to thank our fans for their wonderful support and salute our competitors in the series as they continue their run to the Pirelli World Challenge crown.
“We couldn’t be on the sharp end of the grid without our all-star crew, and the excellent support provided by Porsche. We’ve already started the development of our 2017 program to reclaim the top spot in the championship.”
The team made headlines after the season-opener at Circuit of the Americas when a heroic 200-man hour effort was required to repair Long’s heavily damaged Porsche 911 GT3 R prior to the St Petersburg round.
“This is a huge disappointment for the whole team,” said team manager Erin Gahagan.
“The crew worked so hard to earn the first win of the season, and then they again showed how strong they are when they worked around the clock to get Patrick’s car back together for him to put on an incredibly impressive performance at St. Petersburg.
“They’re every bit of deserving for this year’s championship and it’s heartbreaking to have to walk away from this fight.
“But with the dedication of the crew and the support Porsche has provided EFFORT Racing, we will continue to work hard and build a stronger team for the 2017 championship.”
EFFORT’s withdrawal leaves only a single Porsche 911 GT3 R, Andrew Davis’ Calvert Dynamics entry, on the PWC grid, following a recent dominant streak from Cadillac and McLaren in recent rounds.
PWC returns to action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on May 20-22, which will also include the debut of the new Sprint X Series.