Deletraz knew officials from several teams were monitoring his progress during the season, but WTR won out.
“What I really liked of Wayne Taylor is he came to me, and he clearly showed me he wanted me in the team,” Deletraz said. “Endurance (racing) is obviously teamwork, and the way they approach things I think they also see the same in me. I come here to win, I want to win everything I can and do the best possible and they have the same mentality. When you share those values, the performance, and obviously I enjoy it because it's my passion, it's what made a difference because there are many good drivers out there.”
Mike O’Gara approaches it from the team perspective. As director of operations at Chip Ganassi Racing, he and other team leaders are always on the lookout for budding talent. And with names like Zanardi, Montoya, Franchitti and Dixon having delivered a mountain of trophies to the team in different disciplines, there’s proof in their process.
O’Gara says CGR seeks drivers who find a way to win at all levels.
“We feel like there's an intangible on knowing how to win a race,” he explains. “That's more than just driving a race car quickly or fast. It's the whole mentality, the whole mindset on taking care of your car, getting through traffic. Chip’s mantra is ‘Do the obvious things right.’ He says that before every race in every race meeting. Our theory is if there's a driver that's talented and he does the obvious things right, he's going to end up on the podium – probably on the top step of the podium a lot.
“You can have a kid with some talent but in the best equipment and he does fine, but the people you’ve got to look for is people that may not be in the best equipment … but they're figuring out how to take that equipment and win races. Those have been the most successful drivers that we've had here.”
Which of the drivers new to the top prototype class will take that next step to greatness? Only time and a rigorous 2023 schedule will tell. First up is the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.