By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
(Editor’s note: This story originally indicated that Black Swan Racing would be withdrawing from the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team subsequently acquired a chassis and as such, updates have been made.)
DAYTONA — After an incident in Thursday’s morning practice session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Black Swan Racing was ready to withdraw from the first race of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. However, Wright Motorsports has stepped in and the Black Swan Racing team is pulling an all-nighter to build a car for tomorrow.
Trenton Estep was behind the wheel of the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R when the right front of the car hit the pit exit wall. The impact damaged the front suspension area of the chassis, rendering it irreparable.
“The car is damaged beyond repair, and we have weighed our options,” said Black Swan Racing team owner Tim Pappas. “What we’ll have to do to get a new car and be back out there, we’ll just be so far behind the eight ball that that’s just not the way to start the race, and though we’re all competitors and we want to move forward, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it that way.”
Later in the afternoon, Wright Motorsports approached Pappas and a deal was finalized. In exchange for using the Wright Motorsports backup chassis, Black Swan Racing will deliver a brand new chassis from Porsche to Wright Motorsports as well as all of the good parts that Black Swan Racing is replacing with their own parts per IMSA’s rules.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to be part of this Porsche family,” said Pappas. “Anthony Imperato and John Wright and the guys all at Wright Motorsports didn’t want to see us leave and we concocted a way to make this work.”
The 911 GT3 R that Wright Motorsports delivered to Black Swan Racing is understood to have competed in IMSA and in the Blancpain GT Series. The mechanics were stripping down the Wright Motorsports Tub before rebuilding it.
“This car is becoming a bare chassis,” said Pappas. “Everything from our chassis, the driveline, engine, transmission, all four corners of suspension, all the electronics, wiring, the driver’s seat, the fuel cell, all of the bodywork, everything will go from our car onto there.”
The move from Wright does have some risk to it. If the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R has a major collision during Friday’s final practice session, the Wright team would take possession of the car that Black Swan is preparing.
The goal is to be on track for Friday’s practice session at 9:55 a.m. ET. The race starts Saturday at 1:40 p.m. ET.
Black Swan Racing mechanics working on the car from Wright Motorsports. Photo: Christopher DeHarde/Motorsports Tribune