Visit Florida Racing is set to debut the team’s brand new Ligier JS P217 at this weekend’s IMSA round at Road America. The team, run by Troy Flis, has made the switch to Onroak’s LMP2 racer after competing with a Riley/Multimatic Mk.30 to this point.
Following the team’s overall podium at this year’s Rolex 24 Hours – its debut with the Riley chassis – the Visit Florida team hasn’t earned any silverware from the six races since, a key reason for the team’s change. Its best finish following its podium was fifth at Watkins Glen. DSC understands that the team was also considering an ORECA 07, but was unable to obtain a chassis in time for this weekend, and therefore chose Onroak.
The team took delivery of the car last month, which it plans to race in the final three races of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, with full-season drivers Renger Van Der Zande and Marc Goossens. For the debut, it will sport the team’s usual blue livery.
“We have seen what the Ligier JS P217 is capable of, not only here in IMSA, but also in Europe as well, so we are eager to get to the track and learn about the JS P217 at Road America,” Flis said. “I’m impressed with the customer support that Onroak Automotive has in place, and I have known Max Crawford for a long time so that relationship is another key element for us and Visit Florida to make this commitment.”
Commenting on Visit Florida’s news, Jacques Nicolet, Onroak Automotive CEO added: “We are very proud that Troy Flis chose our Ligier JS P217 to continue his team participation in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. With more than 30 years of experience, of which 13 years in the Daytona Prototype category, Visit Florida Racing is a leading figure in the USA motorsport world.
“In establishing Onroak Automotive in Denver, North Carolina, under the management of Max Crawford, we are able to provide extended support to our teams and to make sure they have the best opportunity to meet the success they deserve with our Ligier JS P217. We are very much looking forward to Road America and wish a very warm welcome to Visit Florida Racing into the Ligier family.”
Prior to the weekend, Visit Florida went out testing its JS P217 at Autobahn Country Club circuit in Illinois to ensure it had turned a wheel before the official on-track sessions in Wisconsin. The shakedown was overall positive, with just a couple of niggles with fly-by-wire and a button on the steering wheel breaking.
With Visit Florida now running a Ligier, it brings the number of JS P217s in the series to two, adding to PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ example, and four if you include ESM’s Nissan DPis, based on the Onroak chassis. It also means that no Riley/Multimatics will compete in the remaining rounds of the series, following Mazda’s withdrawals as it prepares for the 2018 season with Joest.