Racing Team Nederland has confirmed that it will switch to Oreca machinery for the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Dutch outfit has been running a Dallara P217-Gibson since it debuted in the European Le Mans Series during the 2017/2018 season and has been competing with the car in both the European Le Mans Series and the FIA World Endurance Championship. During this time, the team also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2017 and 2018, finishing 13th and 7th in class respectively.
Talking to Motorsport Week, the team explained that the relative lack of pace from the Dallara as well as the class dominance from Oreca teams were among the reasons for the switch.
“Really looking forward to it because we have been with the Dallara for one year, and to be honest, I think we took the maximum out of the car, but there was nothing more in it,” said Giedo van der Garde. “We’ve been leading races, we were quick in qualifying sometimes, but every time we knew that we were four or five tenths short with the car.
“I think the team did a fantastic job, Nyck and Frits did a fantastic job, but in the end, but if you’re always those few tenths slower than your competitors, it’ll be hard.”
The change of chassis also means that the team will be switching support crews. Dayvtec Engineering, who has been running the LMP2 outfit since its debut, will be replaced by French WEC competitors TDS Racing. Team boss Frits van Eerd explained the switch was a difficult but necessary decision.
“It sounds like a simple decision, but you know, when you’re competing with the team for two years in a row and the guys have really taken care of you and you have to make the decision not to go on with the Dallara but to switch to a different chassis, it means a lot,” van Eerd said. “Because the guys I dismissed have been taking care of the car and the team, and now I have to find some new friends.”
“TDS, hopefully, is gonna take care of us just as well as Dayvtec did. But on the other hand, we want to be very competitive, as competitive as we can. And I really believe that with Nyck and Giedo in my team, we can be much more competitive than we are. You know, everything helps, but if we look at the results of the Orecas: they’ve won everything. So let’s make it clear and simple: we have to use the same chassis.”
Nyck de Vries, Racing Team Nederland’s third driver, added: “Yes, we are switching teams, unfortunately. No hard feelings whatsoever towards Dayvtec, because they did an amazing job for us, but we just felt like we were lacking a bit in terms of package.”
“I think its been obvious and clear that Oreca has been dominating LMP2, and we wanted to do the next step and we feel like we’re all ready for that. With that, you need the best equipment obviously and TDS is a team that is very experienced with Oreca so I think it was the most straightforward decision.”