JRM Racing has revealed that it will move up to the new FIA World Endurance Championship with a solo Honda Performance Development ARX-03a LMP1 this year. Team boss James Rumsey spoke about the shift in emphasis at the squad that won last season's FIA GT1 World Championship with Nissan.
Q. What motivated the decision to graduate to LMP1 for 2012?
James Rumsey: It was a commercial decision: the money seems to be there for LMP1 in comparison to GT1. FIA GT1 is still finding its feet commercially, while the sponsorship acquisition potential of the WEC and Le Mans in particular is very good. LMP1 is manufacturer-led and they are really getting behind the WEC. The hope is that we can tag onto the back of that.
Q. Was LMP1 the only option when considering a move into the WEC?
JR: We started off looking at LMP2 with the ORECA-Nissan and evaluating it against other packages out there. We then started to compare LMP2 against LMP1 and saw that with P1 there was the potential for sponsorship to offset the cost of the program.
Q. What are your aspirations in the WEC this year?
JR: The HPD car is a good platform and hopefully we can be competitive. We aim to make a big impact and be the best of the privateers. We are looking for podiums, but realistically we are not going to beat manufacturers spending 100 million euros [$128m].
Q. Where will this project take JRM?
JR: Hopefully it will lead to an opportunity to work with a manufacturer. We know that many manufacturers are looking at LMP1 when the new rules come in for 2014. We want to establish ourselves as the top privateer, because those manufacturers are going to need teams to run their cars.
Q. Can you talk about drivers for the LMP1 car?
JR: There will be three for the full season. There are a lot of good drivers out there at the moment and we are talking to quite a few.
Q. Is there a realistic chance of JRM staying in the FIA GT1 World Championship with Nissan?
JR: We are keen to do GT1 if we can find the commercial partners to make it happen. On the other hand, we would prefer to have six to eight GT3 [Nissan] GT-Rs out there in various championships rather than having our own program.