The Dragon Motor Racing team has announced the withdrawal of its two wildcard entries from next weekend’s Bathurst 1000 endurance race, citing a lack of funding and preparation.
The first-year Dunlop Series team was surprisingly awarded two wildcard grid slots for the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 legs of the V8 Supercars’ Pirtek Enduro Cup, in which it would run two ex-Garry Rogers Motorsports Holden Commodores. It confirmed its own Dunlop Series driver, Kristian Lindbom, would drive one of the cars, but did not announce details of who would partner him or race in the second car.
The team elected to skip the Sandown 500 in the hopes of readying itself in time for Bathurst, but the project was looking wobbly well before that. In August, Dragon owner Tony Klein told stakeholders close to the project that he did not have the funding to proceed with a Bathurst tilt and would be looking at a merger with other Dunlop Series outfits to help keep the dream alive.
After talks to rescue a single-car entry failed, Klein had no choice but to pull the pin on the entire project and announce their withdrawal. The new puts the Bathurst 1000 grid at 26 cars, with the Super Black Racing Ford Falcon now left as the sole wildcard runner against the series’ 25 regular entries.
An added factor to the team’s ultimate withdrawal was a succession of disastrous Dunlop Series rounds at Winton, Townsville and Ipswich, where its cars faced a number of spare parts shortages – highlighting the obvious lack of proper funding – after a number of crashes and failures for its drivers.
“Our major concern about racing at Bathurst in particular was the lack of experience we, as a very young team, have at our disposal,” Klien admitted in a statement published this morning.
“The key issues for our team is safety for our drivers and teams; and the possibility of jeopardising other teams’ chances at Bathurst and ultimately their championship results.
“Although we are very disappointed we have acknowledged our shortfalls as a team and taken appropriate steps to improve our equipment, spares, systems, processes and staffing,” he added, confirming that his team would not contest the remainder of the Dunlop Series season while it focuses on rebuilding for a 2015 return.
“Our plan is for the long term viability of our team and its’ progression. We are now focusing on 2015 in the Dunlop Series to build our experience, especially in the areas of safety and compliance. I am sure in 2015 you will see a much improved DMR.”
Image via V8 Supercars Media