Carmel-based Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, a company that was in expansion mode as little as two years ago, is on the verge of closing shop.
Dennis Reinbold, co-owner of Panther DRR, told employees and top driver Oriol Servia this week about financial issues facing the IndyCar Series team.
Servia was told the Associated Press that the team will close after the Indianapolis 500 if sponsorship isn't found. The race is scheduled for May 26.
The decision was first reported Thursday night by Speed.com and confirmed by Servia.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was founded in 1999 by Reinbold, an Indianapolis native who operates BMW, Infiniti, Suburu and Volkswagon dealerships in Carmel and Greenwood. His grandfather, Floyd "Pop" Dreyer, was a top motorcycle racer in the early 1900s who went on to become a leading builder of midget race cars.
Former Indy Racing League driver Robbie Buhl is a co-owner of the business, which had about 40 employees as of two years ago.
In 2011, the team invested more $1.2 million to expand its 30,000-square-foot Carmel headquarters by 12,000 square feet and add a machine shop. The team fielded four cars in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, but has struggled to find sponsors in recent years.
Panther Racing, a 15-year-old local racing team that ran into some legal problems two years ago, joined forces with DRR about a year ago after DDR broke ties with engine supplier Lotus.
Servia joined the team prior to the 2012 season after Newman-Haas Racing closed its doors during the offseason because of a lack of sponsorship. The Spaniard had just finished a career-best fourth in the IndyCar standings with three podium finishes when Newman-Haas folded.
He finished fourth in last year's Indianapolis 500.