Fresno, CA – PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports completed a successful three-day test at Sebring International Raceway late last week. This marks the second outing for the team in the new Ligier JS P217 development car following a test in mid-November at Daytona.
Although the team is new to the LMP2 class, they’re quickly getting themselves familiarized and up to speed with the new LMP2 machine.
“Wow! The LMP2 is a monster,” explained full season driver José Gutierrez. “This was a very productive test. We did a lot of laps in the new Ligier, and I’m in love with the car.”
“It was my second time in the car since the first test in Daytona, and I absolutely love every second I get to spend behind the wheel,” said Gutierrez. “I’m still getting accustomed to the speed, more braking power and more downforce compared to the LMPC, but I can´t wait for the Roar before the 24 and to show what PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports can do in 2017.”
Teaming up with Gutierrez for the season will be PR1 veteran driver Tom Kimber-Smith. Kimber-Smith is no stranger to LMP2 cars having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice in the LMP2 class in 2011 and 2012, so he is more than ready to get behind the wheel of the Ligier for the 2017 Weathertech Sportscar Championship.
“The test at Sebring went really well. We had three full days of putting mileage on the Ligier car, and it was a great experience for us as drivers and also the whole team as it was our first real taste of the car,” said Kimber-Smith.
“We are working through our test plan and also getting familiar with procedures. It’s great to have done some testing before Christmas and before we hit the track at the Roar in January.”
Joining Gutierrez and Kimber-Smith for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup Championship (TPNAECC) will be reigning European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Michael Guasch.
Guasch drove with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports from 2013-2015 and won the LMPC Driver’s Championship in 2013 as a PR1 driver. Guasch enjoyed a successful 2016 in the European Le Mans Series but is excited to return to PR1 for the four TPNAECC races.
“It’s great to be back with PR1. I ran in Europe in LMP3 last year and had great success, but decided to come back to the United States and make the step up to P2. When it comes to racing in the US, Bobby Oergel is my go to, so we talked and were able to get me back in the car for the four big races,” explained Gausch.
“The test at Sebring went really well. We had great support from both Ligier and Cosworth and we were able to work on the car, the tires, ourselves and really get a lot accomplished in those three days. The car is incredible. It just does what you tell it do. It’s so sophisticated, and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in January.”
“I met José (Gutierrez) for the first time at the test, and I have to say he’s a great guy and he’s really fast. I’ve known Tom (Kimber-Smith) for a while, as we drove together for the full season in 2015. I’m really excited to be back with PR1 and to be able to team up with Jose and Tom, and I think we’ve got the potential to do very well in our TPNAECC races.”
The PR1 team returns to the track on January 6-8 for the Roar before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PR1Motorsports) and like us on Facebook to stay up to date with all of the latest news from our team and drivers!
About PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
In paddocks packed with excellent teams and quality drivers, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has established itself as one of motorsport’s premier organizations. The operation is based in Fresno, CA where PR1/Mathiasen occupies a 5000 square foot facility that houses a stable of F2000 Zetec, F1600, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racecars, plus a full-time crew of technicians and engineers. Since 1990, PR1/Mathiasen has won over 45 championships in a wide assortment of world-class series before joining the American Le Mans Series full-time in 2010. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ latest championship win was the 2016 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup Championship with drivers Tom Kimber-Smith, José Gutierrez and Robert Alon. The team’s alumni and active driver roster includes an impressive list of accomplished drivers including IndyCar stars J.R. Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball, sports car legends Luiz Diaz, Butch Leitzinger, and Marino Franchitti, and rising stars Dane Cameron, Jonathan Bomarito, and Ryan Lewis.
Roar Before the Rolex 24 January 6-8
Rolex 24 At Daytona January 26 – 29
Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring March 15 – 18
Grand Prix of Long Beach April 7 – 8
Lone Star Le Mans September 4 – 6
Chevrolet Sports Car Classic June 2 – 3
Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen June 29 – July 2
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park July 7 – 9
Lime Rock Park July 21 – 22
Continental Tire Road Race Showcase August 3 – 6
Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix September 22 – 24