So what's next for sports car ace Guy Cosmo?
Welcome back for the final part of this two-part conversation with North American sports car ace Guy Cosmo. In Part One, which can be read HERE, Guy went into detail about the current driver ranking system and its apparent flaws.
In Part Two, we wanted to look towards the future ... Guy's future to be exact. He'll also be discussing the growth of the Pirelli World Challenge and the massive undertaking of merging ALMS/Grand-Am and how he thinks that TUDOR's maiden season went.
I've had talks with a number of teams about lining up a test and looking at doing some one-offs there and/or the Indy 500 in 2015.
Guy Cosmo on IndyCar aspirations
When I questioned Guy about potential rides for 2015, he told Motorsport.com, "I continue to work on finding an opportunity in sports car racing but honestly, I have very few prospects for a solid ride in IMSA, which is very disappointing at the moment," he admitted.
"I've spoken to a number of teams in Pirelli World Challenge but there, still, most teams don't have the capability to just go out and hire a driver who they want and go out and compete. That is a series I find very attractive though. I love the sprint format, the GT3-spec cars, the racing is super competitive."
Guy Cosmo to compete in 2015 Indy 500?
Guy isn't looking at his future with tunnel vision either. He is open to a seat outside of sports car racing. Responding to direct questions from myself, he agreed that he would be interested in the V8 Supercar enduro rounds if an opportunity as a co-driver were to arise.
Outside of all that, Guy is actively pursuing a childhood dream of his; a dream involving the open-wheel ranks of IndyCar.
You can't sell sponsorship to compete in the full TUDOR championship, it's just too high. You can't provide enough in return
Guy Cosmo on teams migrating to PWC
"I'm still working on my IndyCar aspirations. I've had talks with a number of teams about lining up a test and looking at doing some one-offs there and/or the Indy 500 in 2015. I have no delusions about that task, but I'm working on funding and getting partners on board. If I can put the pieces in place, that would be a lifelong dream of mine coming to fruition, to race in the IndyCar Series."
"At the moment though, I remain available for 2015 and I'm still looking at all opportunities."
What's attracting teams/drivers to the PWC?
As our discussion progressed, I wanted to get his thoughts on the PWC and the amount of IMSA-based drivers/teams making a switch to the GT sprint-format based series. I talked with PWC CEO Scott Bove recently, but now I was able to get a driver's take on this 'exodus' of sorts, but the reasoning is not a direct reflection on the TUSC/Conti divisions, as Guy explained.
"PWC offers a great alternative to teams that can't compete in the entire TUSC championship. IMSA has put together a great calendar with some killer endurance events, but it's an enormous budget to take on. It's a great schedule, but it's such a large budget and undertaking for teams now."
There were hurdles with regulations, BoP, officiating, and logistics ... They did a great job with what was clearly a massive undertaking
Guy Cosmo on TUDOR's inaugural season
"You can't sell sponsorship to compete in the full TUDOR championship, it's just too high. You can't provide enough in return for what's out there. Teams can look at PWC and compete with some really cool cars, but with a fraction of the budget. It's gaining more and more manufacturer interest. Just compare the tire bill for a full season in IMSA to others, it's staggering."
"PWC eliminates all of that hassle we talked about earlier and eliminates the huge amount of a financial requirement to compete in what is obviously a really attractive series that is gaining momentum. It's a shame some teams are bailing on IMSA as a result but they (PWC) were really smart to add in the GT3 format last year."
Rating IMSA's first season with TUDOR
Back to IMSA, it goes without saying that IMSA took on a massive project, trying to successfully merge two major forms of sports car racing into one, coherent product. Some have been critical of their first season, but Guy is prepared to give credit where credit is due.
"They've done a very good job of it. There were of course some very big ups and downs and hurdles with regulations, BoP, officiating, and logistics. They did a really great job with what was clearly a massive undertaking. I really wish to see IMSA succeed because it's what we all want, we want a sustainable North American endurance, sports car series. IMSA has taken on a huge responsibility and they will continue to sort through all these problems and will have a great championship."
Back to sustainability
"But," -- In case you missed Part One, don't read any further than that 'but.' Check out what Guy said earlier and you'll be able to get a clearer picture of what he is saying now.
"But, I think the number one topic that needs to be addressed is sustainability. Is there a successful business model for the participants to be able to compete and thrive without changing everything in the nature of the series, just to cater to this current format? It's got to be a benefit for teams to be there or else, it's just an enormous expense or at some point, all of your competitors will run dry. That needs to be addressed."
"I had a lot of conversations with some team owners at the PRI Show and when we even broached that topic about sustainability, every single one said we just had that same kind of conversation with IMSA, saying help us so we can sell sponsors and get more partners on board."
"Prime example, if I could pull off the Indy 500 and simply take the green flag, there's a few hundred thousand dollar payout. That's a significant return, plus, you can market and sell at an event like that. Obviously, not every race provides that kind of payout but NASCAR has been doing it for a long time and with them behind IMSA, I don't see why more isn't being done to get the ball rolling in that direction."