European Le Mans Series champions DragonSpeed will move up to the World Endurance Championship with an LMP1 car for the 2018/19 season
With a name as awesome as DragonSpeed, you’d expect the team to be pretty good - and it is. Run by former F3000 driver Elton Julian, the team won this year’s ELMS championship under the G-Drive Racing banner and is planning to not only step across to the WEC for the 2018/19 season, but also up to the LMP1 category.
It’s not been announced which chassis they’ll use, but the team has close links to Oreca, who have been working on a potential LMP1 car for next year. Julian said:
“The whole team is thrilled and up for the challenge. Having won sports car titles in GT3 and LMP2, the natural progression for our highly talented and motivated crew is to move up to LMP1. We’re carefully studying potential partners who can help us put together a program which will deliver the progress and success we want for DragonSpeed. Everyone is on the same page in terms of the package and approach we need, and we can’t wait to get started.”
It’s great news for the top flight of endurance racing, with Toyota recently hinting that it’ll be sticking around, Ginetta building (and apparently selling) some cars, SMP Racing planning to enter with a couple of Dallara-built chassis, and of course, ByKolles.
It’ll mean that LMP1 has the strongest privateer presence in years, something Dragonspeed boss Julian is pretty hyped for.
“I look back to 2005, when I first drove at Le Mans. You had a single works team with Audi plus a great supporting cast of privateers running six different chassis and four different engines. In fact, the pole went to one of the privateers.
“If Toyota continues, and we all hope they will, I think over the next couple of years we can bring back that variety and tradition of privateers being genuinely competitive in the top class.”
Current DragonSpeed drivers (seriously, what a cool thing to be able to put on your business cards) Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman will make the move up with the team, with the third driver to be announced at a later date.