IMSA Patricio O'Ward WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24
O'Ward lands full-time Performance Tech drive
Friday, 03 February 2017
RACER Staff / Image by LAT
After a Rolex 24 class win in Prototype Challenge, Performance Tech Motorsports has named Patricio O'Ward as the second driver in the No. 38 ORECA FLM09, pairing with James French for the remaining rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
At just 17 years old, O'Ward is one of the youngest winners in the history of the Rolex 24; he was 176 days shy of being the youngest winner ever. O'Ward first joined the Performance Tech team in 2016 for the first two rounds of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda (formerly Prototype Lites) at Sebring International Raceway.
"I'm really happy that Performance Tech accepted me as a person and driver," O'Ward said. "I loved working with James, Nick and Kyle. I'm excited for the rest of the season, hopefully the field grows. I really want a good car count for competition. We had a strong car at Daytona and I think we'll have a strong car moving forward."
O'Ward, the 2015 Pro Mazda champion and 2016 series runner-up, drove a Prototype for the first time in November, when he tested RGR Sport Ligier's JS P2 Nissan during the FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain.
"We had opportunities arise going into Daytona and if we had a good showing we could get Pato's deal done," team principal Brent O'Neill said. "He's really just awesome, he and James will be great together. It'll be a good pairing and a plus for us is that we have two silvers that are really fast. It gives us options in the pits with what we can do with strategy.
"The only thing we'll really be working on with Pato is how he still loses sight of time during the race. He comes from the format of 45-minutes races. He's from the sprint race mentality so every once in a while, you have to tell him to reign it in. But he's so professional in the car. He doesn't throw the car off and he turns competitive lap times. They'll be awesome teammates and I know James is excited about it. They're both great kids."
Kyle Masson, te will join the line-up in the No. 38 PC as the third driver in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship. Masson was also a part of the driver lineup behind the Rolex 24 At Daytona win. This will be Masson's first year in the PC car and second season in the Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series. At the upcoming Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Masson will compete in four races, three Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda races and the endurance event.
"I am really excited to join James and Pato at Performance Tech in their hunt for the Tequila Patrňn Endurance championship," Masson said. "As a unit we all worked really well together at Daytona and we had great pace. I think keeping the group that swept Daytona together is a smart move and I am ecstatic about the opportunity to stay with them. I am looking forward to seeing what we are capable of at Sebring. I have high hopes and expectations coming off a dominant win at the Rolex 24."
02-07-2017 05:45 PM
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