FIRSTTEXTHEREStarworks Motorsport can today reveal that it will take on the cream of the world’s endurance teams after securing a sensational spot in the new FIA World Endurance Championship 2012. The team, from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, will mix it with the best over nine of the greatest and most famous tracks in the world — from Sebring to Le Mans and from Silverstone and Spa to Sao Paulo and Fiji.
Starworks will take part in the new global sports car series by entering a car in the LMP2 class after teaming up with Honda Performance Development. Their usual Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series drivers — Scot Ryan Dalziel, who now lives in Orlando, Florida, and Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio —will be behind the wheel. A third platinum-classed driver will be announced before the first round at Sebring next month.
The new Honda ARX-03b will arrive at the workshop later this month. Starworks has set up a base in Cardiff, Wales, to help coordinate the WEC campaign alongside their operation in the United States.
Team owner PETER BARON: “It seemed like such a far-fetched dream even to contemplate doing the WEC for 2012. I watched the international prototypes racing when I was growing up and this was too good an opportunity to miss. Pushing ourselves, we looked at our assets and our potential, and we thought we are just a few key hires away from having the right people in place. The most important thing is that we have everything in position not just to compete, but to challenge. We are not there to just participate, we are there to compete for a championship. Our team has a tremendous wealth of experience running high tech cars, and we are up to the challenge. We will be a bit tight for time for Sebring as we are still waiting for the car, but even so, we showed at this past 24 hours of Daytona, we can dominate a race with getting a car moments before a race. Our goals are victories and the championship, and, in Ryan and Enzo, we have a fantastic pairing that can achieve our goals for us and Honda. . We are going to be based at our shop for Sebring round, then we have a shop in the UK for the European rounds. The team for this is part of the crew that worked on the #8 car in Daytona. Simon Morley is the team director. We have added Brian Colangelo as WEC team manager, who competed in the Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge last year, and his wife Fanny Colangelo is now our logistics manager. Steve Challis will head up our engineering. All our key personnel has had a relationship with Honda in the past through IndyCar. Looking at what chassis and motor to get, based on the success of the HPD ARX chassis and our relationships, it was an easy decision to pick a new ARX-03b as our weapon of choice. If people look at what Starworks has done in the last six months and what are goals are, then they will know that we are driven, determined and focused. This program will be successful.”
Honda Performance Development technical director ROGER GRIFFITHS: “We would like to welcome Peter Baron and his Starworks team into the HPD family, we look forward to achieving impressive results with them running the new HPD ARX-03b LMP2 this year in the new World Endurance Championship. As everyone saw at the 24 Hours of Daytona last weekend, Starworks is a strong, well-prepared team, capable of running at the front of the field in international events. The LMP2 category will be a highly competitive championship this year, with strong entries from Nissan and Lotus, among others. We’re looking forward to the challenge, and to achieving great success in our new partnership with Starworks.”
Driver RYAN DALZIEL: “It really is a dream come true to get back on to the world stage and to be in an LMP2 car. The fact that I get to continue my relationship with Starworks in this new venture is the icing on the cake. We are all determined to make this work and we believe we have the personnel at Starworks and the partnership with Honda to make an impact in our first year. The thought of going back to Le Mans for the second time gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. It is a wonderful event that every driver dreams of being involved with. Now we are going there knowing we will be competitive. It’s going to be very difficult to start with but we have already hired some really key personnel for the WEC program and I believe we will be in the strongest package out there. HPD have helped us immensely and we hope we can represent the brand with the respect they deserve. This will be an amazing year. We can’t wait to take on the other teams at some of the most iconic tracks in the world, and we are confident of success. The change for the team has been completely nuts! On one hand, I cannot believe it. Yet, on the other, we have so much motivation and great financial backers that I can. We have all worked so hard through the bad years and that hard work started to pay off in 2011. We ended the 2011 season with a victory. We started the 2012 season with fastest lap in the Dubai 24-hour, a podium in Abu Dhabi 12-hour, pole position for Daytona which carried over to fastest race lap and a second place finish. 2012 is going to be huge, not only for me, but for my team mate Enzo Potolicchio, who has worked so hard alongside Peter Baron to find the resources to make these deals possible. I am massively grateful for Enzo and Peter’s faith in me and for this amazing new opportunity. The World Endurance Championship is the place to be and we will be there.”
Driver ENZO POTOLICCHIO: “It is incredible. We had been talking about the best way to get to Le Mans. We were so keen to take part that we looked at every option, and the World Endurance Championship was the best way forward for the team. We have worked so hard in recent months to make sure that our Venezuelan backers are in place to help us realise this dream. It is going to be a huge year for Starworks — it will be our first time at Le Mans and I think we have the package for us to do it properly. I have never been to Le Mans, and I can’t wait to get there. It will be a massive challenge but I am ready for it and I have the perfect person in Ryan to help me. He has played a major part in improving my driving and it is paying off. My drive in the 24 Hours of Daytona showed that. I don’t think there is a better combination, even in Grand-Am, than Ryan and I as a gentleman driver with a pro. The race in Daytona was a marvellous occasion and a great display by the team. We came so close to making it a winning display. Now we take that into the World Endurance Championship. I am certainly living the dream. I have the chance of podiums and victories at some of the best tracks in the world. There is no mistaking how badly we want to do well. We have all the backing from Venezuela to complete our first season in WEC and we have a great partnership with HPD. Everything is in place and we can’t wait to start.”