IMSA: BAR1 steps up to prototype

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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BAR1 Motorsports, stalwarts of the now defunct Prototype Challenge class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and recent PC class winners at the Motul Petit Le Mans, confirmed on Tuesday that they will make the jump up to Prototype in 2018, using a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson platform. The team confirmed that it will contest the entirety of the 2018 season with its new chassis, doing so with an eye toward branching out even more in the future, possibly even to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Obviously, this is an important step for us,” said team owner Brian Alder. “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.”

Alder added that the team’s decision to use a Riley Mk. 30 comes after evaluating how the chassis is developing with help from Multimatic and Mazda Team Joest, whose Mazda RT24-P is based on the Riley chassis.

“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,” Alder explained. “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.”

Further, the ACO’s decision to allow Ligier, Dallara, and Riley to update their respective LMP2 platforms – nicknamed a “joker” rule – also got the attention of Alder and team, noting that it signifies the importance of maintaining a competitive environment in the LMP2 field.

“The development allowances and ‘joker’ rule are very important to us,” Alder added. “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.”

Further announcements regarding a driver lineup will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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