Started 14 seasons ago by driver Robbie Buhl and car dealer Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (DDR) will close their operation after the Indianapolis 500. It was announced today (source: DDR) the team (with driver Oriol Servia) that had merged with Panther Racing last year, would “be scaling back its participation in the IZOD IndyCar Series following the 97th” Indy 500. Panther Racing with driver J.R. Hildebrand will continue its operation.
Lack of money
The economy and funding, long the bane of motorsports, is the primary reason the team is closing down. It had been rumored that the team’s future this year looked bleak; and indeed last week, Robbie Buhl as co-owner had stated that the team was looking for sponsorship for the Servia driven car to continue the year (source: Autosport).
Heading into last season, the team had aligned itself with new engine supplier Lotus but of course, the Lotus debacle that ensued with lack of engines, support, competitiveness or reliability forced DDR to seek other avenues. DDR then forged an alliance with John Barnes and Panther Racing, acquiring their second Chevrolet engine program which DDR has continued with into this season.
DDR and the 38 year old Servia had made some headway and it appeared they were on the right track in 2013. A sixth place finish two weeks ago at the IndyCar event at Long Beach showed promise. However, the cost of changing over to Chevrolet has hindered the team.
Robbie Buhl, who has been involved with IndyCar since its inception, acknowledged that the organization will work to bring in new backing with the idea of possibly coming back in 2014. Said Buhl: “We’ll be working hard to bring in additional sponsors as we rebuild after Indy this year and look to next season.”
In the meantime, the team heads to Brazil for this weekend’s race on the streets of Sao Paulo. They will likely be competitive there and at the Indy 500 where the veteran Servia finished fourth in 2012.
The team will attempt to retain a small core of employees, so the endeavor can continue, at the very least, with the design of entering in next year’s Indy 500.
Additional sources: IndyCar
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Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has written and blogged about every type of racing.