8Star Motorsports will make its return to sports car racing later this year, with the Enzo Potolicchio-owned team confirming to Sportscar365 plans for a two-car Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 effort in the final two Pirelli World Challenge rounds of the season.
With an eye towards 2016 and the expanding GT3 platform in North America, the end-of-season effort, which will feature two “well recognized drivers with Ferrari experience,” is aimed to showcase the team’s potential in GT racing.
“We’re going to have two cars for the last two races,” Potolicchio told Sportscar365 in an exclusive interview. “There’s going to be more announcements to come with that. We’re entering two Pro cars to show that we’re in that series and that we want to find customers.”
Potolicchio said they’ve already taken delivery of the cars, which have been leased from AF Corse for the races at Sonoma Raceway on Aug. 28-30 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 11-13.
The PWC program will mark the Florida-based team’s foray into GT racing in North America after two seasons of fielding a variety of prototypes in IMSA competition.
Potolicchio has driven a number of Ferraris overseas, including winning the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am teams’ title with the 8Star-backed squad.
Most recently, 8Star has enjoyed success in Indy Lights, highlighted by a win at Indianapolis with Sean Rayhall earlier this month, with the team pushing hard to also expand in the open-wheel ranks.
“We’ve done well to stay in the paddock in Indy Lights,” Potolicchio said. “We want to consolidate that program to have a two-car team in the future, and do Pirelli World Challenge.
“I’m also working really hard to be back in the TUDOR Championship. The GT3 option should be good because you can go back and forth [between series].”
With GT3 cars being accepted in the TUDOR Championship next year, as well as continued talks of an IMSA-sanctioned GT3 sprint race series, Potolicchio said he sees a promising future for the platform in North America.
He said PWC is particularly attractive for its affordable costs, which has attracted a significant number of new teams for 2015.
“With sprint races, it’s less people and overhead is nice,” Potolicchio said. “I think it’s under control. People can pay for it. We can find a little bit of sponsorship and a little bit of money from the drivers.
“I think it’s a great series, as long as they don’t go crazy by going international, or do endurance racing. If they understand that they need to keep it under $1 million budget, I’m happy.
“That’s the key because it’s a brick wall we don’t want to hit again.”
Potolicchio said they have yet to decide on what GT3 car they’d run next year, should a program materialize for PWC and/or IMSA.
“We’ve had open conversations with different manufacturers and are waiting for additional GT3 cars to be homologated,” he said. “The Ferrari was our choice to do the last two races of the season and promote the team for 2016.”