IMSA PC champs Performance Tech step-up to P with ORECA

Photo: Performance Tech Motorsports
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The Performance Tech Motorsports team will move into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class with an Oreca 07 Gibson next year, following its dominant season in the last year of Prototype Challenge en route to the title with James French and Pato O’Ward (with Kyle Masson for the long races).

Team principal Brent O’Neill courted Oreca from the summer and worked towards putting together a deal, and now will add another of the capable LMP2 chassis to the Prototype class grid.

“We know everybody going into this. Everyone is expecting to see Dallara or Ligier but we look forward to continuing the relationship we’ve built over the years it was the right choice for us,” O’Neill said. “It’s a big step for everybody but it’s a less steep curve to continue with ORECA because we’ve been working with them all along. ORECA was a part of our success this year.

“They did great through this process. We’ve had fun getting people excited about the new car. This, the car announcement, played out well for both of us. Everyone was asking ORECA who the car was for and our team was excited. But we’re happy to announce with them and excited to get to work.”

Oreca’s David Floury, its technical director, added: “We are really glad to partner Performance Tech in moving up to LMP2. The team is strong and has shown it in LMPC and we have developed a very good relationship through the year. ORECA will for sure support as much as possible to help Performance Tech continue to achieve success.

“I think they chose the right car for two main reasons. Firstly, the ORECA 07 is known for quality and has proven its speed and reliability. But besides this, it is a good base for teams that are entering the category for the first year to achieve great results. JDC in the USA or Graff in Europe has really demonstrated this in 2017. The second point is that Performance Tech and ORECA have developed a strong and successful relationship through years. This will enable to gain valuable time and speed up the process.”

Drivers weren’t named but with O’Ward keen on an open-wheel return full-time after doing two Indy Lights weekends last year, then testing in October, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see French and Masson in this car full-time.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.