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Servia finished sixth in Long Beach last weekend despite two penalties that were both later rescinded.