Full-season IMSA drive with Acura “something big” for my career

Deletraz will leave the World Endurance Championship after next month’s Bahrain finale to race in IMSA’s top GTP class in 2024, joining two-time Daytona 24 Hours winner Jordan Taylor in Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti’s second Acura ARX-06.

It follows Deletraz’s endurance-only role with WTR/Andretti that saw him finish second in the Daytona classic this year with Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor, and an IMSA bow in 2022 that yielded a LMP2 class win in the same 24-hour enduro.

Speaking on the eve of this month’s WEC race at Fuji, where he took a class win with Robert Kubica and Rui Andrade in the #41 WRT ORECA 07 to move a step closer to the title, the 26-year-old expressed his elation at landing one of the most competitive seats in IMSA’s top division.

“I love the championship, I went Stateside last year for the first time and we won with John Farano and Tower Motorsports,” the Swiss told Motorsport.com.

“So it was a good start and it got me my drive with Acura in GTP. 

“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for my whole career, and to join the factory programme with HPD, Acura and Wayne Taylor Racing was something big and definitely be my main programme next year, so I can’t wait to start.”

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Having forged an alliance with Andretti at the start of the year, WRT will double its presence in IMSA next year with a second factory-supported Acura ARX-06, effectively taking over Meyer Shank Racing’s entry.

Deletraz said it was only “logical” for the team to sign him for its second GTP car next year, having felt he has impressed the team enough in its three Michelin Endurance Cup outings so far.

“I’m already their endurance driver, I’m already contracted with them, so they know me well,” he said. “I think they saw what I did in P2 in 2022. 

“I still had contact with Wayne, with Filipe, with Ricky Taylor. So they said, ‘let’s go’ and they gave me a shot. 

“So far, I didn’t make any mistakes and was quite fast. They gave me a good car. Well, it was logic, like my second family. “

Despite having gained immense success in sportscars since he switched from single-seaters, with two ELMS titles already on his CV, Deletraz is yet to score a victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Yifei Ye were leading the race going into the final lap in 2021, only a freak throttle sensor failure on their WRT-entered Oreca 07 to deny them an LMP2 win.

The Swiss driver said he still harbours hope of racing at Le Mans and has an “unfinished mission” in the French endurance classic with Kubica, but currently doesn’t have a deal to race outside of IMSA in 2024.

“In 2021 we should have won but it was not the year with the car stopping on the last lap, which is still hurting every day you think about it,” he said. 

“In 2022 we did second, this year we did second. Also not an easy year I would say. 

“I want to win Le Mans, ideally, we have an unfinished mission with Robert. It would be great to win it together.

“I don’t have any contract yet, my main programme will be the GTP with Wayne Taylor Racing and Acura. 

“I would love to do ELMS, it doesn’t clash. I would love to do ELMS and Le Mans, in an LMP2 car, and we will see if it’s possible. But I don’t have any plans yet.”

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