Racing Engineering is eyeing up a future move into the FIA World Endurance Championship after switching from open-wheel to the European Le Mans Series in 2018.
The Spanish team has opted to leave behind the FIA Formula 2 championship ahead of the 2018 season, having competed in Formula 1’s primary feeder series since 2005, winning two Drivers’ Titles for Giorgio Pantano and Fabio Leimer along the way.
But the team will now turn its attention to ELMS with an ORECA 07 Gibson, and team principal Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon says the championship could be likely be used as a stepping stone into the World Endurance Championship, maybe for the 2019/20 season.
“We must remain realistic; starting directly in the WEC would have been too complicated,” said Orleans-Borbon to Endurance-Info. “We would have faced teams that have known the category and the championship for a long time.
“Switching to the WEC is part of our desire and we will do what it takes to get there.
“There is also the opportunity to participate in the 24 Hours of Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring. Endurance racing makes it possible to have beautiful programs.”
Orleans-Borbon says the way Formula 2 became almost routine-like in recent years forced him to think about whether or not Racing Engineering should remain in the series over the winter, but a dual campaign in it and ELMS was never an option.
“Formula 2 is a very good category but for me it became routine,” said Orleans-Borbon. “Each race was similar to the previous one.
“Last December, I wondered whether to continue. We have watched the LMP2 category in recent years but it was too complicated to [have a dual program] because we could not have done things well in both disciplines.
“In addition, we had time to see the different [LMP2] chassis.”
Norman Nato is Racing Engineering’s first confirmed driver for the European Le Mans Series season, with the Frenchman having followed the team from Formula 2 into endurance racing.