|Black Swan at Long Beach. ©ALMS.com|
Black Swan Racing have announced that they will be returning to the GT ranks in the American Le Mans Series, citing the current financial situation at Huntingdon based Lola Cars as the reason for the step back. The team will make the move later this year, or possibly in 2013 according to Speed TV's John Dagys.
Black Swan Racing ran at the front of the GTC class for the past two years before stepping up with a cost-capped LMP2 chassis. Due to safety concerns, the team owner, Tim Pappas, is unwilling to consider an open prototype which left the Lola B11/80 as the best car for the team. However accidents at Long Beach have left the team scratching around for spares.
There had been hopes to upgrade the car, which is leased from Scott Tucker's Level 5 Motorsports outfit, to B12/80 spec. Lola's administration put paid to that and now the team are unable to find even the parts they need to repair their damages.
Pappas paid tribute to the support the team received from their engine suppliers, Honda, but he was critical of the support from Lola.
One option Pappas is considering, and lobbying the ALMS for, is the introduction of the LM GTE Am class to the States. Currently the ALMS works with GT as a pro class with any GTE car and the GTC class as a challenge class, offering Pro-Am driver lineups the chance to compete in equal machinery. Pappas as dominated this class twice on the trot with Jreoen Bleekemolen as his team mate and would prefer to use year old GTE machines to compete in the next level up.
Black Swan Racing still have the car until spare parts can be found to repair its damages from a collision with the Alex Job Racing Lotus Evora, and return it to Level 5.