Grace Autosport the all-female Verizon IndyCar Team who had hoped to be on the grid for next weekend’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil confirmed on Wednesday that they will not compete in the race.
The team managed over the last twelve months to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together such as a driver in Katherine Legge, sponsors, the finances and the personnel however the shortage of a viable chassis has meant that despite having an engine supplier on board they were not able to compete.
Making the announcement on their website, Grace Autosport Team Principal Beth Paretta commented by saying:
We met with many teams in the IndyCar Paddock late last season to determine partnership feasibility and discovered numerous teams had chosen to scale back their plans for 2016, We were ready to announce a team partnership for the Indy 500 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in mid-April but a change in terms proved unsound for Grace’s sponsor partners and unfortunately we had to step away from the deal. The consolidation of teams and the decrease of entries in 2016 reduced the available options for us. Our partner spoke with Dallara about buying a new car after Long Beach but there wasn’t a current 2016 car available in time for the 500. We evaluated an available chassis as late as last week but there wasn’t enough time to acquire all the parts needed to rebuild the car safely. Because of this sequence of events we will not campaign a car in this year’s Indy 500.
Paretta went on to say:
As I said last summer, Grace Autosport was not interested in just making the grid and running at the back. We wanted to put forth a respectable effort and we wanted to be competitive, while keeping safety at the very forefront of our program. We apologize to the many fans that have reached out to offer their support, which has been incredible. The good news is that we will not give up and are now working closely with our partners to map out Grace’s future. The Grace Autosport initiative is far more than a race program, Concurrent to building the race team, we have been assembling commercial partners and the essential pieces for our STEM educational initiatives to reach the community and the classroom that we set forth a year ago. Thank you again to the many fans for the continued notes of support and appreciation since our announcement last May. We look forward to seeing all of you at the races in the near future.”