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BAR1 Closing in on Oreca LMP2 Program

BAR1 Motorsports working to field up to two Oreca 07 Gibsons in 2018…

Photo: John Thawley/BAR1

BAR1 Motorsports could soon be the latest team to graduate to the top prototype class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the Ohio-based squad closing in on a possible two-car entry with Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 cars next year, according to team principal Brian Alder.

Alder’s Prototype Challenge squad, along with class rivals Performance Tech Motorsports, have both been working on making the step up, with the spec prototype category set to end following next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans.

According to Alder, securing a P class effort has been “90 percent” of his focus, and has made progress significant progress in recent weeks.

“We’re close for sure,” he told Sportscar365. “I don’t want to put a number on it, but it’s definitely right there.

“We’re looking at a lot of different options, one car or two cars. [There’s] nothing 100 percent yet but we’re down the road with quite a few people.”

Having been a part of the PC class since its inception in 2010 and fielding Oreca FLM09s under his own team, Alder admitted they’re likely to continue their relationship with the French constructor, should its LMP2 program get the green light.

“It would be really hard not to go with ORECA,” he said. “The car is proven; it’s a great car and is similar chassis to what we know already.

“We know all of the guys at ORECA, and with Penske and Acura, it’s just going to improve the program.

“I’d imagine there’s going to be more track support at each event. Any technical updates or information, I’m sure will be shared down through the pipeline.

“Right now, that would be the one you’d go with.”

Alder admitted he’s had mixed levels of interest from funded drivers, with some having preferred to remain in a Pro-Am-enforced class.

However, with the WeatherTech Championship being reduced to a three-class series, it leave the P category as the only option for prototype drivers, at a cost Alder estimates to be “easily double” the current budget in PC.

“The opinions vary, but there’s really only one option at this point,” he said. “There’s only one scenario.

“It is a big step financially. From a team’s standpoint, it’s just a different car under the tent; the operations are very similar.

“We’re getting closer and pushing really hard to lock everything up. For sure by Petit Le Mans, before we head into that race.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Kurt

    September 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Penske sharing information that can be passed down? Haha! It’s a nice thought. Glad more people are looking at the WEC cars.

    • Andrew

      September 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

      Anything that they do outside of the DPi parts to improve the car has to be available to Oreca, it’s their chassis and their homologation. Penske can’t take his toys and do what he wants to them.

      • Kurt

        September 11, 2017 at 7:45 am

        Incorrect; There’s no rule saying a team has to share information with the MFG. Penske has the same if not more resources than Oreca (7 post, sim guys, composite shop, etc), once Penske get the cars Oreca will only be needed for the spare parts if they wish.

  2. Babe

    September 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    THE GAG!!

  3. Juninho

    September 8, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    R.I.P LMPC 2009-2017

    • Jeff Wagner

      September 10, 2017 at 3:40 am

      I loved LMPC and sad to see it go. I still FIRMLY stand by what I said from day one, it should have eventually been P2 in IMSA, as they were fast enough and could have been a way to PREVENT the same P1 P2 B.S. that happened in the A.L.M.S. from happening if P2 was spec. (My opinion right or wrong, and not interested in debating it). LMPC didn’t get enough credit by people that didn’t know better. It was a GREAT crutch during the REALLY thinning A.L.M.S. years when it was obvious to everybody a merger of both sides had to happen. The legacy is proven as two GREAT teams from it are now moving up to LMP!

      • Brandon

        September 11, 2017 at 8:46 am

        Jeff, i’m in agreement with you. Too many people hold onto the old days with huge factory involvement, much smaller budgets, and gobs of sponsorship. Those days are over and LMPC offered the racing community a chance to play with great machinery for a reasonable price. In its heyday, PC offered great competition and was a training ground for both drivers and teams looking to step up to the big leagues. IMSA needs to embrace the paying amateurs (with reasonable skill) because there is only so much sponsorship to go around. Even the WEC and the LMS recognize this with the LMP2, LMP3, and GTE-Am categories. I don’t think the Jim Truman award is enough to attract these types of drivers – there should be a separate P-Am class, IMO. Something that allows drivers and teams to hone their skills against others of the same caliber, not against paid Pro-Pro lineups. I, personally, will miss PC and the giant hole that it leaves in the current structure.

  4. Jorden

    September 9, 2017 at 2:58 am

    It’s exciting to see all these teams make the jump to the top class in IMSA, but there’s still lots of concern with DPI vs. LMP2 and more importantly Pro/Pro lineups vs. Pro/Ams… proceed with caution

    • Andrew

      September 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

      There is NO Pro-Am concern in IMSA prototype, that’s not a class. If you want to run an Am you will be behind the Pro cars barring accident or failures.

      • LimeGlen

        September 9, 2017 at 10:05 am

        I think that was his point, but with the budget increase it’s going to tough not having a funded driver.

        • Jenner

          September 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

          According to many here, PC drivers suck. So now they’re in P2.

          Are they all of a suddenly gonna be running and competing and dicing with the Pros?

          And no, PC cars are not harder to drive, Bruno Junquera never went crashing and spinning off every corner in front of the overall leaders.

          • Jeff Wagner

            September 10, 2017 at 3:53 am

            MANY on here are wrong. LMPC looked REALLY bad at times and stood out as it had the worst of $$$ clowns being REALLY stupid and the cars were MUCH faster than those guys egos realized without the downforce, traction control (until the last year or two) of P2 cars, and they had all that torque of the 5.0L V8! HOWEVER the Top Drivers like James French, Kyle Marcelli just to name two belong in P2 cars will do fine any day!

          • Haskell

            September 11, 2017 at 12:45 am

            The 24hrs of LM this year proved what happens when you drop a pay to play driver using his wallet to compensate for a tiny gear shift and race a car that is way outside of his league. Just ask Giuseppe Risi.

          • Jeff Wagner

            September 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm

            Yes, however I still think Mr. Risi was nudged to have that “Driver” by some type of Ferrari connection or he brought such an insane amount of money he couldn’t say no. But regardless Mr. Risi should never in ANY way have been put in that position as FERRARI should be giving him financial support! The PROBLEM STILL remains TODAY! He represents their brand in a way they can’t comprehend. I and many people I know HATE Ferrari, but consider that team to be “Risi” and won’t cheer against them in a race, they could be racing against any car! If they win we are happy for them if it’s a hard, clean race!

      • Jack

        September 10, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        why would they be behind, with IMSA’s yellow procedure, there is a very strong possibility of a pro am team to win once the pro gets in. especially in the Enduro’s.

  5. RobertB

    September 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I’m going to miss open roof prototypes in general. Something about that bobbing head….

    • Jenner

      September 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Not only the bobbing heads with the beautiful paint schemes of the individual drivers, but you can see the drivers hand and arm movements in the cockpit.

      Nothing better than seeing a driver turning right in a left hand corner. For those that have stood outside Turn 6, driver’s right, at Laguna Seca, you know what I’m talking about.

      Gonna miss those open cockpits too.

      • Jeff Wagner

        September 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        Sportscar Racing isn’t the same without open cockpit although I still LOVE it. It’s for the same reasons you mentioned, but more. I take pictures, with open cockpit I can make sure I get a good shot with both drivers in the car, and if the one driver is ONLY $$$ like L5 S.T. was I made SURE to get good shots with C.B. driving! Also on Friday when it was a first time two drivers were new at Mosport (although not a big difference at IMSA level) it was awesome to see who got up to speed quicker, who was smoother or more aggressive out of turn 5B and up the “Mario Andretti not so straight”! When you get to know the helmets you know when cars have stopped during the race, or who is fast but risky. We used to call Rinaldo Capello “Ray Charles” he was SO FAST, STILL has the outright lap record at Mosport, but he had about 2 yrs in the ALMS where he drove almost blind and hit everything during races! You can still see some helmets a little in some cars, but most the glare of the sun off the windows is tough. I understand closed cockpit is safer for debris/a driver safety cell, but it bothers me how it isn’t pointed out it ISN’T SAFER in a FIRE. You can get out a hell of a lot faster, or if you’re knocked out a Marshal can get you out a lot easier and faster during a fire in an open cockpit race car. My final thought, the heart of my love of open cockpit is the connection to U.S.R.R.C./Can-Am! I am 38 years old, but my Dad was lucky to see Can-Am at Mosport. It made me feel like I was watching a modern day (nowhere near as good) version of it, something TECHNOLOGY couldn’t change. I can accept it has changed to closed cockpit for safety reasons with the EASY acceptance from everybody having the aerodynamic gains too. ***IMSA Now that there is a roof and room, put the 3 initials of each driver with an LED beside it, light up the LED beside which driver is in the car using the same technology that changes timing and scoring transponders during driver changes. Or possibly a single LED panel that shows a letter, each driver in the car gets designated a letter so we know who is in the car.***

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