Nancy Knapp Schilke, WEC correspondent
Starworks Motorsport team owner Peter Baron added the former Peugeot LMP1 hot-shoe for the team’s entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) 2012 inaugural season. Frenchman Stephane Sarrazin will share the Honda Performance Development ARX-03b with Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio to take on the challenge in the LMP2 class.
“I am very happy to be joining the team. I spent a long time as a factory driver with Peugeot, but they decided to stop two weeks ago and I was lost without a program. So I was very happy when Peter called me. I am sure it is a great opportunity for me with the team and this car. I believe that we can get some very good results,” said Sarrazin.
The Florida-based team received confirmation that the FIA had accepted their entry for the new international championship to “take on the cream of the world’s endurance teams” per their press release on the third of February. Today, Baron was pleased to finalize his driver lineup with the Frenchman joining the Scotsman and the Venezuelan in their new quest.
“The high downforce prototypes are a bit new to us, so it was crucial to get someone with experience of these types of cars and of the tracks that we will be visiting. It was unfortunate that the Peugeot program ended the way it did but that created an opportunity for Starworks and it was an easy decision for us once we knew that Stephane was available.”
Starworks Motorsport is already well-known for their contest in the Rolex Grand-Am Series with their Daytona Prototype car. After forming his new team in 2010, former racer Baron was not as surprised as their competitors were when they landed their first victory at Mid-Ohio last year. They came out of the box flying and it did not take long for them to be one of the top competitors. At the Daytona 24 hour Grand-Am season opener this year, Dalziel landed the pole and the team came very close to scoring the victory.
With their new challenge, they compete with the world’s best in the WEC and of course, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the time of the initial announcement, Baron commented, “I watched the international prototypes racing when I was growing up and this was too good an opportunity to miss.”
Adding the three time pole winner for the June classic on the famous La Sarthe circuit in France was indeed an opportunity not to miss. Sarrazin is a two-time Le Mans Series champion but more importantly, the Frenchman was one of the drivers to nail down the former Intercontinental Le Mans Cup titles in 2010 and ’11. The former FIA’s World Rally Championship and Formula One driver brings a wealth of experience to the new world endurance team.
Baron commented, “He [Sarrazin] was very excited about coming on board and is very motivated about what we are trying to do. We are convinced that Ryan, Enzo and Stephane will be one of the strongest and most competitive line-ups in the World Endurance Championship and we are delighted to have got our man.”
Sarrazin, Dalziel and Potolicchio will make their debut in the LMP2 ARX-03b in mid-March at the historic Sebring circuit in the team’s home state for the first round of the WEC. “I am also very excited to be doing the World Endurance Championship. It is a very high level. I know nearly all of the tracks. I have competed on them for the past five seasons. We will go forward together. I am looking forward to getting into the car and getting started,” Sarrazin said.
The Twelve Hours of Sebring is not just the first race for the American Le Mans Series but it is also the debut event for the new world championship. Besides Sebring and Le Mans, the 6 hour WEC races include famous tracks like Spa, Fuji, Sao Paulo and Silverstone.