Status Grand Prix will this year develop an LMP2 sports car programme following its decision to acquire a new 2012 specification Lola B12/80 Coupe. The Silverstone based team will take delivery of the car in the coming weeks and is currently finalising its 2012 test and race programme with the ultimate goal of competing in the full FIA World Endurance Championship in 2013.
This ambitious sports car project will be developed alongside Status GP's existing GP3 Series activity, the team having been a championship contender and regular race winner in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The sports car project will not affect the team's commitment to its GP3 single-seater programme, being operated from expanded premises by a dedicated crew of experienced sports car engineers and technicians.
Status GP has previously been the technical partner operating both GT1 and LMP2 cars on a sub-contract basis, competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2006 and 2011 and also running cars in FIA GT and Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge events, but this is the first time it will field its own entry. Announcements concerning key technical partners and driver line up will be made when the 2012 programme is finalised.
David Kennedy, Mark Gallagher and Martin Birrane make the announcement on the Autosport stage
"This is a significant step for the team and perfectly complements our important GP3 activity as we seek to develop parallel racing programmes up to World Championship level in the future," said team founder Mark Gallagher. "We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Lola over the last eight years and believe this is an exciting time to enter the world of sports prototype racing. There are more automotive manufacturers coming into the sport, the European and American Le Mans Series have paved the way for the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship, while sponsors and drivers are recognising the benefits of competing with these superb cars at prestigious events around the world."
'We are delighted to welcome Status GP into the Lola LMP family," said Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of the Lola Group. "Although a new entrant to sports cars, the relationship between Status and Lola goes back to the first year of A1GP in 2005. Like Lola, Status GP shares a determined and professional approach in the business of going racing and have proved to be winners in both A1GP and GP3. We very much look forward to a long and successful partnership with them on the global sports car stage."
Status GP was founded in 2005 and won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport for Ireland in 2009, the culmination of four seasons in the powerful single seater category. The team graduated to GP3 for the series' inaugural season in 2010, achieving 4 wins and 8 podiums to finish 2nd in both the Driver and Team standings. It was again a championship contender in 2011 with 6 podiums including victories in Turkey and Italy. Status GP's major shareholder is Teddy Yip Jr, whose father ran the famous Theodore Racing team, and the management team includes former F1 and Le Mans driver/team coordinator David Kennedy.