Performance Tech Motorsports will have a full weekend of racing at Sebring International Raceway as the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda Series begins its 2017 season.
Performance Tech will field six cars in the newly renamed series.
Returning in his No. 18 Èlan DP02 will be Kyle Masson fresh off his Rolex win. Joining in the chase is Masson’s father Dr. Robert Masson, Stephen Dawes and Howard Jacobs. Each of three will also compete in a Èlan DP02 as part of the Mazda Prototype Challenge class or MPC. This is Masson’s second season while it will be the first season for Dr. Masson and Jacobs. For Dawes, it will be his first season behind the wheel for Performance Tech, previously he worked behind the wall as part of the pit crew.
Another longtime friend returned to the team for the 2017 season, Alan Wilzig. Wilzig, a former L2 class champion, is undertaking the challenge of the Le Mans P3 under the Ginetta banner. Joining him is Andres Gutierrez, cousin of Patricio O’Ward. Gutierrez will take on the LM P3 with the help of Ligier. Wilzig and Gutierrez are part of the new LM P3 class. This is the first season the Le Mans P3 car has competed under the IMSA umbrella.
“This year will be extremely competitive and fun,” O’Neill said. “Alan, Howard and Stephen I think will be the ones to have some fun this year and just enjoy themselves. With those three it’s going to be an adventure. Alan has done this before but I think it’ll be an eye-opener for Howard and Stephen but they’ll still have fun and enjoy. Taking on the P3, Alan knows what he’s up against. P3 suits him better because it’s a very smooth, big car. Alan should be in a battle for the Masters Championship, that’s our goal.
“They’ll do well together, they all want to try to compete with Dr. Masson this year. Dr. Masson is going to surprise a lot of people. You look at everything he’s done and he’s just one of those competitive guys that looks for ways to be better or do better. He’s the nicest guy too, he’s helped so many people on our team with different health issues. He’s incredibly intelligent and cares about his practice, that will translate into the race car. He’s the guy to beat.”
“Kyle will be fighting for a championship. He’s done really well this year so far. He’s really developed as a driver. He’s showed his maturity in the Lites car during our testing. We’ve done three or four test days with Andy now. We’ve spent a day at Sebring testing and he did a great job there. He gets up to speed so quickly. He just gets faster and faster each time he gets in. He’ll be a force in the car this year.”
With six drivers competing in the series, O’Neill is positive he’ll see his drivers walk away with wins this season. More importantly, he believes it will be his team that will take top honors as team points champion. The real question to O’Neill is which driver will walk away as points champion in his class.
The Sebring weekend kicks off with IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda action. Race One takes place Thursday, March 16 at 4:35 p.m. ET and Race Two will take place Friday, March 17 at 10:45 a.m.
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Source : imsa.com