In addition to its activities in Grand-Am and the IMSA Lites series, 8Star campaigns a Ferrari F458 in the GTE-Am category in the WEC (ABOVE), which should also continue next year, but could involve a change in classes.
"I want to be part of the WEC because it gives me that advantage over the other teams,” adds Potolicchio. “If you see Ganassi, he's huge, he does NASCAR, he does… all-American. When people see my proposal and see where I go, I'm more worldwide. Having the WEC and the USCR, I'll have more wide coverage. So I'm attracting different companies that are interested in that.
“I want to keep my mind open for WEC and I have a lot of support from the WC people, they really like what we're doing and how we're putting our program together. But I want to go back to P2; it's a car I like driving a lot."
Potolicchio has offers to take on importer/distributor rights for two of the P2 chassis he's considering for 2014, but says he'll concentrate on securing a car and engine before adding another business venture to his plate.
“I'm really working hard to try to get the Morgan chassis with the Nissan motor, that would be my first option; my second option would be an ORECA-Nissan. It's a reliable car also, it's a good package, good options. So I'm talking with both manufacturers a lot right now. Actually, you'll probably see Olivier Quesnel, the head of Morgan is here, they came to visit to see our operation, they're looking around. We had dinner with them. He was the head of Peugeot Sport and they're looking at somebody that can work with them here.
“I'm interested most in having a great P2 car to race, but not really looking to become a dealer. Honestly, I have two options: Mr. De Chaunac from ORECA came to offer me a deal to be their U.S. dealer for the P2 class and then Morgan is doing the same thing. If I take one of the options in P2 I would like to leave the door open if the series goes in that direction heavily, I'd like to be involved more on having that side of the business also, but that's something to consider for later.”
With a mix of professional and gentleman drivers needed to pilot Potolicchio's USCR entries, he's looking to keep as many of his current drivers as possible. In addition to his own role behind the wheel, Potolicchio has a pair of Frenchman – Sebastien Bourdais and Stephane Sarrazin – on the payroll, and will work with them to whatever degree their other activities will allow.
“I have Stephane Sarrazin, who drives for the Toyota factory (P1) team, and Bourdais, who is in IndyCar, and for all those big guys, we're always their second pick,” he admitted. “And I'm okay with that because we're not the top class and we can't also pay the money that IndyCar was paying or that a factory program where Stephane is. We can't pay that kind of salary. So I have to be honest with that.
“And also before anything, I'm a friend. And when they get a factory ride, I won't stand in the way of that. Last year Stephane got a call from Toyota for Le Mans. He was signed to drive with me, I could've said no, but I'm not going to stop that from happening for him.”
Bourdais is currently on a one-year contract in the IndyCar Series with Dragon Racing, and if the 34-year-old is left without an open-wheel ride, Potolicchio has a full-time seat waiting for him, along with Canada's Michael Valiante, the team's most recent recruit.
“So for our [USCR] lineup, I'll wait for them to see what happens with Sebastien,” he said “I hope he gets an IndyCar ride; I want the best for him. If he wants to move to sports car I'll be happy to have him. Stephane, the same way. Michael Valiante – he's happy to be with us, he showed really well, a good speed with us, really nice kid, low maintenance. The guy is just completely happy to be here and I like that. So we signed him up. And we're probably going to sign him up for the next year or two.
“I said, ‘Look, I don't know what any of us are going to drive next year, whether it's P2, PC, DP…I don't know. But you're going to drive something, do you want to be part of that?' He said yes, and he knows we're going to push hard, which is what matters more than anything. Right now it's hard to say exactly what we'll have for drivers until some of their contracts in the other series get done for next season, but when we know, then we can start to sign everybody up.”