The Starworks Motorsport team has confirmed its withdrawal from the 2013 World Endurance Championship, meaning it won't now defend the LMP2 title it won last year.
The team had already been missing from the entry for the season opener at Silverstone this weekend as it worked to finalise a deal for 2013, with the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez affecting funding that was set to help fund the programme – with Venezuelan racer Alex Popow having been slated to drive alongside Ryan Dalziel.
Starworks had planned to run a HPD ARX-03b this year, with the car campaigned last year [pictured] having been owned by former driver Enzo Potolicchio – who sold it to Extreme Speed Motorsports over the winter having founded his own team.
“Quite simply, the funds for the team to participate in the prestigious series did not materialise in time,” Starworks owner Peter Baron said. “We counted on this programme happening and passed on a few less attractive programmes. We only want to participate in a series if we can compete for wins and the title.
“We had numerous partners and situations where we could get there, but in the end it was timing that let us down. Gérard Neveu and Cédric Vilatte from WEC, along with HPD, were all fantastic in their support in trying to get us to Silverstone. I am so sorry that we have had to withdraw and let everyone – the WEC and the fans – down.”
Baron added that the team – which will now focus on its Grand Am Rolex Series commitments – fully intended to return to the WEC for the 2014 season and could still take part in some World Endurance events this season in preparation for next year.
“We still anticipate getting the sponsor funds, so it is not all bad news,” he said. “We have agreements in place; it's really a corporate timing function. Once funds start to arrive we are going to start preparing for the 2014 WEC competition. Our plans would be to spool up and get a few 2013 ALMS races under our belt, and possibly the USA round of the WEC at Circuit of the Americas this year, and be as prepared as we can for next season to avoid this situation happening again – ever.”
Starworks' decision to withdraw from the WEC, which means it won't now compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, will see the Morand Racing Morgan-Judd promoted into the race from the reserve list.
Race Performance had already been promoted onto the grid after the Sebastien Loeb Racing team withdrew.