American Le Mans Series privateers Dave and Andrea Robertson are apparently ready to pack it in. That means we may have seen the last of the Ford GT, a car Ford never intended to go racing, on a competitive racetrack. That's just sad.
The Robertsons were always on borrowed time. The husband and wife duo used a business windfall to fund Robertson Racing out of their own pockets for four years. That's four years of competing against big, factory-backed teams for whom the Robertson's racing fortune was merely a good start. Ford never bothered to ante up — they had other cars in other, more popular racing series to back.
And yet, anyone who stood by the wall at Sebring or Sarthe would find it difficult to deny the goosebumps that arose when the Robertsons roared past in the silver-and-red, 5.0 Cammer-powered GT, always looking like a throwback to 1966 in a field of modern BMWs and Ferraris. Dave recently handed off his half of the driving duties to GT racer Melanie Snow. Pro drivers David Murry and Anthony Lazzaro drove the team's second Ford GT, while the team called on Colin Braun and perennial hired gun Boris Said for endurance-race duties.
It was a tough four years, but the team kept at it. And then, this year, a victory of sorts. On the day of their wedding anniversary, the Robertsons scored a third-spot podium in the GTEam class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
But sponsorships in ALMS are hard to come by, and the old saying about how to make a small fortune in racing — start with a large fortune — is no less true, even if it was all in Dave's plan from the beginning. They're still looking for sponsors to get them to the 2012 season, but it's not likely to happen. So here's a hat tip — to the Robertsons, for being the most awesome thing about Le Mans racing in 45 years.
And if you've got a large fortune you're willing to turn into a small one there's a racing team in search of a sponsor.
Photo Credit: Old_Boone