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Isotta Fraschini partners with Duqueine for 2024 WEC after Vector split

The revived Italian Isotta Fraschini marque will compete in the World Endurance Championship with its new Le Mans Hypercar next year in partnership with the French Duqueine squad.

#11 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH-C: Marco Bonanomi, Jean-Karl Vernay

#11 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH-C: Marco Bonanomi, Jean-Karl Vernay

Isotta Fraschini

Isotta has joined forces with Duqueine, a regular in LMP2 at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the European Le Mans Series, after parting company with the British Vector Sport operation that was scheduled to run its solo Tipo 6 Competizione LMH in 2024.

The link-up with the Vector LMP2 squad was revealed in December 2022, but the team announced ahead of the publication of next season’s WEC entry list on Monday that it will be taking a year out of the series after two seasons in LMP2.

Duqueine Team, part of wider group specialising in automotive and aerospace industries, subsequently made a short announcement that it would be collaborating with Isotta and the Michelotto Engineering organisation masterminding development of the Tipo 6 in the WEC in 2024.

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Isotta motorsport boss Claudio Berro told Autosport that the change of team had been made for financial reasons.

Berro said: “Duqueine, the global company, came with a sponsor to support the car.

“As a small company we had to go with some realistic support.”

He added that it “was not an easy decision” and that Isotta is “still open” to working with Vector in the future.

Vector team principal Gary Holland confirmed to Autosport that there had been an attempt by Isotta to change the terms of its agreement.

He said: “There was a ‘we need some more money’, and we said that is no problem, can you release this data and we would like you to perform these fairly simple requests, and it was, ‘absolutely not’.

#10 Vector Sport Oreca 07 - Gibson: Ryan Cullen, Matthias Kaiser, Gabriel Aubry

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#10 Vector Sport Oreca 07 - Gibson: Ryan Cullen, Matthias Kaiser, Gabriel Aubry

“There was a manufacturer programme to be run by us that can no longer be fulfilled and Claudio’s narrative is confirming that by citing economic factors.”

Holland also stated that Isotta and Michelotto had granted Vector “minimal access” to the car during its development phase, contrary to its agreement.

Vector’s drivers were due to begin testing with Isotta during the summer, but its involvement stretched to four laps by Gabriel Aubry at Monza in August prior to a fire that curtailed the test.

Holland added that Vector felt “huge disappointment” in the breakdown in its relationship with Isotta.

“We had assembled such a strong line-up of drivers, multiple championship winners and guys who had won the biggest races on the planet,” he said.

“I am absolutely gutted that they are not going to be seen in the car and that programme.”

Duqueine already had a relationship with Isotta: one of its companies is producing the carbon wheels for the road-going version of the Tipo 6 known as the Stradale.

The French team will be racing in the WEC for the first time in 2024, although it has been a regular at the Le Mans 24 Hours in LMP2 since 2019, claiming third in class this year.

Duqueine’s race team was established in 2014 for an attack on the French GT Championship and moved into the European Le Mans Series in 2016 in LMP3 and then P2 in 2018.

#30 Duqueine Team Oreca 07 - Gibson of Neel Jani, Rene Binder, Nicolas Pino

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

#30 Duqueine Team Oreca 07 - Gibson of Neel Jani, Rene Binder, Nicolas Pino

French constructor Norma was incorporated into the group at the end of 2017, with the Duqueine-Nissan M30 claiming the ELMS P3 title in 2021 with DKR Engineering.

Two drivers have so far been announced for the Isotta; 2017 TCR International champion Jean-Karl Vernay, who has been one of the key players in the Tipo 6 test programme, and Alejandro Garcia, winner of the ELMS P3 title.

Holland stressed that Vector’s aspirations to graduate to Hypercar remain intact.

“What seems like bad news today could present a huge opportunity tomorrow,” he said.

“We still have ambitions to race in Hypercar in 2025 and we’d like to be testing in 2024 with a different manufacturer, and we are already in negotiations to achieve that.”

Vector has already announced that it will be continuing its LMP2 programme in the ELMS next year.

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