62 FALL 2013
the cost oF going rAcing
The switch from two sports car
championships to a single united
series in 2014 should have
numerous benefits for racing fans.
But for the entrants in the new
TUDOR United SportsCar
Championship, delivering those
benefits will require a significant
hike in annual budgets.
The year to year spike can be
directly attributed to the increase in
on-track activities – more hours of
racing in 2014 – which will require
more engine rebuilds, brake disc and
pad replacements, more clutches,
tires, bodywork repair, and all of the
other high-consumption items
involved with an added emphasis
on true endurance racing.
Every car has a unique cost-per-
hour ratio, and with the ALMS going
from approximately 44 hours of
on-track time to an estimated 72
hours with the USCC in 2014, the
budget increases are said to span
25-45 percent, depending on class.
Grand-Am Rolex Series teams,
which raced for roughly 55 hours
in 2013, have a smaller leap to
next year’s 72-hour estimate, but
will still need to find more money
to run in the USCC.
NORTH AMERICAN SPORTS CAR RACING
Welcome to the only domestic
road racing category to rival an
IndyCar Series budget. P1 cars
have been written out of the
USCC’s immediate plans, but had
the fastest sports cars in America
been included, a median price of
$5 million per season in 2013
could have crept towards the
$8 million range with 2014’s
increase in total track time.
Of the major costs involved with
a P1 car like the championship-
winning HPD ARX-03a used by
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing,
the vehicle comes in around
$1.5 million, with another $1 million
required for spares and technical
support. Add in testing, R&D,
component wear and consumption,
a 25-person staff for the Pickett
team and the other costs involved
with a season of racing, and hitting
the $6-7 million mark is easy.
P1 engine lease prices are also
similar to what’s found in IndyCar, if
not slightly higher – in the $800k
range for privateer power.
Determining single-car budgets in
this factory-rich playground is all
but impossible. The resources
available to factory efforts such as
Corvette Racing, the SRT Viper
program and the BMW Z4s run by
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
cannot be matched by privateers,
nor are the manufacturer budgets
made public. But through the
independent entrants, a picture of
the costs comes to light.
With a mandated cost cap of
$570,000 for the chassis, engine
and engine rebuilds, entering the
P2 prototype class – at least with
the equipment needed to go racing –
is relatively affordable. Maintaining
that equipment and all of the other
associated costs of competition,
which is similar to what P1 teams
encounter, has entrants spending
between $3.5-$5 million per car.
The additional track time in 2014’s
USCC has teams looking at another
$750,000 to $1 million for each car.
P2 goes head to head with
Grand-Am’s Daytona Prototypes in
2014, but the good news for the P2
teams is that update kits to balance
performance are needed only for
the currently slower DPs.
Spectacular P1 prototypes
from Dyson and Pickett aren’t
on the USCC ticket in 2014.
Based on the rising cost of
taking on factory programs
in USCC’s GT Le Mans next
year, will privateers gravitate
toward the currently cheaper
GT Daytona option?
ChooSe yoUr gt ClaSS