Juncos counting the cost of another chassis write-off

Image by Scott LePage/LAT

Juncos counting the cost of another chassis write-off


Juncos counting the cost of another chassis write-off


Ricardo Juncos could turn a profit holding seminars on how to rebuild broken race cars.

Having watched his primary Indy 500 chassis get destroyed in a crash during practice in May and then witnessed the backup chassis hammer the wall in the race, the Argentinian was less than enthused to suffer Juncos Racing’s first chassis-destroying incident in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Sunday.

Juncos expects that the pair of crashes at Indianapolis by Kyle Kaiser, and the accident last weekend when Victor Franzoni smashed into the Turn 2 barriers at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, will end up costing a frightening amount.

From Kaiser’s tattered Dallara DW12-Chevys to the Dallara-built Cadillac DPi-V.R that Franzoni shares with co-driver Will Owen, the Speedway, Indiana-based team has been in constant motion since May as teardowns and rebuilds – along with prepping tons of new parts for installation – have dominated their existence.

To make the next IMSA round for DPi entries, Juncos will have until late July to get the new No. 50 Cadillac assembled and tested ahead of the series’ visit to Road America.

“Tough weekend…exactly what we don’t need,” he told RACER. “It is OK, you know, things happen, but obviously we have taken a big risk. The whole chassis, the top, is damaged as well, which is a big component. But the car is 100-percent disassembled yesterday night and so we’re going to start building the car back together today. Dallara has another [DPi-V.R] tub, so we will start building everything when we have it.

“One [IndyCar] is completely gone. The other, 50 percent was damaged. This [DPi] is going to be another probably $300,000. So yeah, it’s going to be a million dollars, probably, when it’s all finished.”

Juncos provided a new update on Franzoni, who won the 2017 Pro Mazda championship while driving for the team, and also offered some post-crash clarity on the cause of the Brazilian’s giant impact.

Juncos suffered a setback when Kyle Kaiser crashed during Indy 500 practice. Image by Abbott/LAT

“Victor, he’s OK — has a little pain on the whole body, but he’s recovering,” he said. “Every day he’s in less pain, and he’s going to be at Toronto this weekend working in our Indy Pro 2000 team as a coach. So conclusions are that nothing broke on the car; the car was perfect. He was abusing the line inside, going to Turn 2. That’s what it looks like on the video; he was already on the big bump [entering the high-speed corner] every lap. You go maybe just maybe a half foot, even a little bit inside, and that’s it. As soon as the car bounced you can hear it touching the ground and then – boom!

“He was flying. I mean, that’s probably a little bit of inexperience in the IMSA races, because when you are three laps down, like we were, when Victor jumped in the car, we didn’t need to go fast like that. It was frustrating all weekend, and then the car was good in the race, and when Victor went in, he was going a half-second faster than the leaders.”

New to IMSA this season, Juncos, a former driver, came away with a better understanding of how to manage an endurance racing team in situations like the one facing the No. 50 Cadillac.

“You’re not going to recover three laps doing that, so that’s the moral, and that’s the things that we need to learn,” he said. “It’s not just Victor, because we didn’t [tell] him to take it easy, so I think it’s everybody’s fault. Being so fast, and he’s so new to sports cars, he just wanted to go fast, and he’s a very fast driver. But we need to think more about this situation next time. We missed that and we were pushing too much, and Victor was on the limit trying to recover, and that’s what happened.”

Having won with Franzoni on the Mazda Road to Indy, including last year when the 23-year-old earned five podiums and a victory in Indy Lights, Juncos remains confident in the DPi newcomer.

“The pressure we had to show results, to find a sponsor, the pressure that Victor has as a driver sitting in the car to show the potential, when you’re on the limit and we’re taking big risks to get results, it’s a tough situation, but he will learn,” Juncos said.

“We’re paying a big price for our situation. It’s totally understandable, but we’re going to continue fighting. We’re going to rebuild the car and we’re going to just keep doing it. Hopefully one time we will find the sponsors and we can show what we can do.

“But the main thing is I am so happy that Victor is okay because at the beginning, to be so honest, when I saw the car crashing like that and there was no communication with him and it took them 20 minutes to get extract Victor from the car, those moments were difficult, terrible for everyone, for his family, who was calling from Brazil. So, thank God he’s OK and nothing happened. This is the most important thing.”