Monday
Oct232017

BAR1 Motorsports Steps Up to LMP2 for 2018 WeatherTech Sports Car Championships

BAR1 Motorsports announced today they have taken delivery of a Gibson powered Multimatic–Riley Mk 30 LMP2 car. The team will campaign the full 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championships schedule, including the North American Endurance Championship. Team owner, Brian Alder, also sees this as an opportunity to return to Le Mans. The announcement comes just two weeks after the team’s impressive 1-2 finish at the season ending 10 hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

“Obviously, this is an important step for us,” said Brian. “The move to LMP2 opens up a lot of opportunities for the team. Running in the series’ flagship class attracts a higher level of marketing partners, top tier drivers and, for me personally, a chance to return to Le Mans.”

The move to LMP2 puts BAR1 in a class that includes several highly professional and competitive prototype teams, the Dpi programs from the recently announced Team Penske / Acura, Cadillac, Nissan, and the Mazda team that should be highly competitive in 2018 through its new relationship with Joest Racing.

“We’ve chosen to work with Multimatic on their newly updated P2 car,” added Alder. “After spending the past few months researching the different options for our move into the prototype class, we feel this car has the most potential of the P2 cars and is the best fit for our program in 2018.

Multimatic’s continued support from Mazda and their new relationship with Team Joest only enhances the attractiveness of this program. Clearly, they learned quite a bit in 2017…  I've seen first hand the changes they have made for 2018 and they are impressive. They have definitely done their homework and the initial testing results from overseas are exceeding everyone's expectations.”

The Mk 30 is one of the quartet of cars approved by the ACO for the new for 2017 LMP2 regulations. The new regulations, which limited the category to four car makers and mandated a spec Gibson V8 normally-aspirated engine, allow for developments to ensure close competition between the different chassis and safeguard team investment. However, the Mk30, developed by Multimatic Motorsport, will be allowed more significant modifications than the Ligier and the Dallara. No evolutions will be allowed to the ORECA.

“The development allowances and ‘joker' rule are very important to us,” noted Alder. “It demonstrates that organizers are adamant in their desire to maintain the competitiveness of the class and their ultimate aim to ensure that LMP2 remains a category that contains variety and a high level of competitiveness.”

The program change pretty much eliminates any thoughts the team may have had for an off-season.

“We are evaluating all current drivers and new driver combinations for 2018, which includes the possibility of adding a second car to our program,” noted Brian. “We expect to be on track within the next few weeks conducting our initial shakedown and as our drivers and crew learn the new car.”

Daytona International Speedway will be the site of a two-day sanctioned test on Dec. 5-6, 2017, while Sebring International Raceway will have four days of testing on Feb. 20-23, 2018. IMSA will require mandatory participation from entrants representing selected manufacturers and constructors. Each of four WeatherTech Championship sessions across the two-day test will be two-hours, 45-minutes in length.
The Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held Jan. 5-7, 2018. The test is mandatory for all WeatherTech Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona participants and will be open to all three Continental Tire Challenge classes. The Roar also will include a one-hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race.

As has been the case since the series inception in 2014, the four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events will anchor the schedule. The 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona kicks off the season on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27-28, followed by the 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 17, which also completes the season-opening “36 Hours of Florida.”