The Panther / Dreyer & Reinbold Racing operation will cease to exist after next month’s Indianapolis 500 unless the team can secure additional sponsorship income or a new investor, the team has confirmed.
The news means that Oriol Servia, one of the series’ most loyal stalwarts on the grid, could yet again find himself on the sidelines. The Catalan driver found himself in freefall after the 2011 IndyCar Series season when his employers, Newman Haas Lanigan Racing, decided to shut down their famous open-wheel racing team.
And it now seems that a similar fate awaits the Dreyer & Reinbold operation, which was founded in 2000 by former IndyCar driver Robbie Buhl and car dealer Dennis Reinbold.
In its entire history, the team has claimed a scant two pole positions and a single race win, surviving season to season on minimal funding and with a host of drivers in the cockpit.
In 2012, the team was one of the few who experienced the dead-end Lotus engine project, before forging a technical alliance with the Panther Racing team to use the outfit’s second Chevrolet engine lease. Servia’s results immediately improved, and he finished the season with five top-ten finishes and thirteenth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Despite the team’s improved speed on the track, it hasn’t led to additional investment off it, forcing the team to plea for additional sponsorship revenue ahead of being forced to scale back or wind down the operation.
Thirty-eight-year-old Servia managed to claim a vital sixth-placed finish last time out at Long Beach, but the team’s post-race celebrations proved short-lived, with Reinbold having to deliver the crushing news to the team and driver.
“IndyCar racing is getting more and more affordable and it needs to continue that way but we just don’t have the funds to continue past May,” Reinbold said.
“I want to keep as many of our people (25-30 employees) as possible if we do have to cease our operation so we’ll try and get creative and weather the storm.”