One of the drivers who made a big impact in a handful of Verizon IndyCar Series races last year will now make his sports car debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Bobby Oergel’s PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has added a potential star-in-waiting in RC Enerson to its lineup, as the 19-year-old Floridian will join that team alongside the capable trio of Tom Kimber-Smith, Jose Gutierrez and Mike Guasch.
PR1/Mathiasen steps up to Prototype with the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson after a successful run in Prototype Challenge for the entirety of that class’ history, from 2010 through 2016. The team won the 2015 Rolex 24 with “TKS,” Guasch, Andrew Palmer and Andrew Novich in PC.
Enerson, who was seriously considered for multiple IndyCar drives, remains focused on eventually that grid full-time. However, the chance to debut at the Rolex 24 gives him a shot to wow the sports car world, as others such as Pipo Derani or Max Papis have before.
“We’re pleased to add RC to the line-up for the Rolex 24. I was able to meet him at Sebring a few weeks ago, and I think he’s going to be a great addition to the team,” said team owner Bobby Oergel.
“I’m very excited to join PR1 for the Rolex 24. Before this opportunity, I was primarily focused on the open wheel side of racing and making my way to the IndyCar Series. I’m still working on other IndyCar prospects for the 2017 season, but wanted to find a home where I could continue to race now. My driver coach was able to put me in contact with Bobby [Oergel]. We met in Sebring a few weeks ago during a test, and we decided PR1 would be a great fit. Now we’re excited to see what we can do on the sports car side of things at Daytona,” explained Enerson.
“I’m definitely looking forward to turning my first laps in the P2 car and especially at Daytona. I mean who wouldn’t want to drive in the Rolex 24? It’s an incredible opportunity, and I’m ready to meet everyone at the Roar and see what we can do.”
This trio brings the number of drivers who competed in IndyCar in 2016 and are running at the 2017 Rolex 24 up to at least nine. Others include Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Jack Hawksworth, Townsend Bell and Sage Karam, with potentially more to come.
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.