Former IMSA Prototype Challenge team BAR1 Motorsports has announced that it will step up to the Prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship to race with a Multimatic/Riley Mk.30 Gibson LMP2.
Team owner, Brian Alder, also sees this as an opportunity to return to Le Mans. The announcement comes just two weeks after the team’s impressive 1-2 finish at the season ending 10 hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“Obviously, this is an important step for us,” said Brian. “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.”
The move to LMP2 puts BAR1 in a class that includes several highly professional and competitive prototype teams, the DPi programs from the recently announced Team Penske/Acura, Cadillac, Nissan, and the Mazda/Joest. This news makes them the only team confirmed to be running an Mk.30 in the 2018 season, after Visit Florida Racing (its car pictured above) switched from Riley/Multimatic to a Ligier JS P217 during last year.
“We’ve chosen to work with Multimatic on their newly-updated P2 car,” added Alder. “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.
“Multimatic’s continued support from Mazda and their new relationship with Team Joest only enhances the attractiveness of this programme. 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.
“The development allowances and ‘joker’ rule are very important to us,” added Alder. “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.
“We are evaluating all current drivers and new driver combinations for 2018, which includes the possibility of adding a second car to our program. We expect to be on track within the next few weeks conducting our initial shakedown and as our drivers and crew learn the new car.”