Possible end of the road for Panther DRR?

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The Panther DRR team may shut down after next month’s Indianapolis 500, according to a report from SPEED’s Robin Miller.

The singleton effort forged a technical partnership with Panther Racing just prior to last year’s Indianapolis 500, where it acquired Chevrolet engines after its four-race start to the 2012 season with the underpowered Lotus engines. Driver Oriol Servia made the most out of what he could with the Lotus equipment, and scored four top-five finishes with the Chevrolet, including fourth at last year’s 500.

Unless additional sponsorship can be found beyond Indy, Miller reports the team will close the rest of this year. Team co-owner Dennis Reinbold did say they already have backing for the 2014 Indianapolis 500. The team does not have one main sponsor but has had a rotating number of different primary sponsors and liveries.

Servia – whose whole career has been an exercise in tough luck as nearly every team he’s driven for has hit this crossroads – isn’t giving up hope yet.

“We’re not selling smoke here,” Servia told Miller. “This is a proper operation and we can win Indy so maybe somebody will see that and come along and save us. I’m not giving up and neither is Dennis.”

Reinbold co-owns the team with Robbie Buhl. It was founded in 2000, in the Indy Racing League years, and won its first race with Buhl driving at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando.

Servia finished sixth in Long Beach last weekend despite two penalties that were both later rescinded.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”