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BAR1 Confirms Riley LMP2 for 2018

BAR1 Motorsports confirms Riley Mk. 30 Gibson LMP2 car for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year; target set on 24H Le Mans entry…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

BAR1 Motorsports has confirmed that it will campaign a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson LMP2 car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with an eye towards competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Brian Alder-led squad will make the step up from the Prototype Challenge ranks, after winning the class-ending Motul Petit Le Mans earlier this month, with a to-be-announced driver lineup for its season-long 2018 entry.

A second Multimatic-Riley-built car is also possible for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.

“Obviously, this is an important step for us,” said Alder. “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.”

While having initially explored a move to the Prototype class with an Oreca 07 Gibson, Alder has instead acquired the ex-Keating Motorsports Riley, which will receive the FIA and ACO’s permitted ‘joker’ chassis and aero updates.

The performance evolution, spearheaded by Multimatic, is being made largely to improve the functionality of the Mazda RT24-P, but per LMP2 rules, must also be applied to all current chassis at no charge to the customers.

“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,” Alder said.

“Multimatic’s continued support from Mazda and their new relationship with Team Joest only enhances the attractiveness of this program. 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.”

ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that despite the significant overhaul from Multimatic, he expects the car to still be known as a Riley.

Le Mans Debut on Target

Alder, meanwhile, has laid out the target of taking BAR1 to Le Mans, potentially as early as next year, pending an invite from the ACO.

While it would mark the Ohio-based team’s debut in the French endurance classic, Alder is a former class-winning crew chief and team manager with Intersport Racing, which made four consecutive starts from 2003-06, and taking the LMP2 class win in 2004 with Clint Field, Bill Binnie and Rick Sutherland. 

The team expects to take delivery of its first Riley LMP2 car within the next few weeks, ahead of an initial shakedown and participation in IMSA’s December test at Daytona, which is mandatory for all new or modified cars.

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

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. thomas

    October 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I hope for BAR1’s sake that the changes to the Multimatic car work really well

    • tracer

      October 24, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Same here. As others have already commented, this could be a brilliant move to get a Joest-developed car on the cheap. However, it seems like one heck of a risky bet for a team making a sizeable leap into a higher level of competition, especially considering their LM24 aspirations.

  2. Dan

    October 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Something tells me they got that car for cheap, 1 it’s used, 2 it’s a Riley and 3 it’ll get free upgrades. Hope they didn’t make the same mistake VFR and Keating did. Also guess Ben isn’t going back to Le Mans next year.

    • TF110

      October 23, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Every p2 that gets an upgrade through the joker system is free for the owner. So maybe the car itself is cheaper than the competition. Or maybe with the basically brand new car, it is actually a good bet! That would be nice to see. I’d imagine Joest knows what it’s doing.

  3. Mike S

    October 23, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Wow Riley huh? Ask how long it took VFR team to go from DNF or last to winning a race with a midseason switch to a car that actually has 4 rolling wheels. A very short time like maybe a month and they get a win. Did BAR1 not watch the season??

    • Cosmo DeLuca

      October 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      VFR did finish third at Daytona.

      • Steven

        October 23, 2017 at 8:26 pm

        Position by attrition. They merely survived Daytona. Once the reliability in the LMP2 and Nissan’s and Mazda’s got better, the Riley chassis showed how off rubbish it really was.

        • Andy Flinn

          October 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

          Steven, nobody “merely survives” Daytona. That’s like saying a car merely survived Le Mans.

          The fact is the Riley bested every other LMP2 at Daytona – except the Cadillacs.

      • Mike

        October 23, 2017 at 8:48 pm

        Yeah the cars besides the Caddies then were junk. Even the Oreca’s and Ligier’s had electronic issues with the components. They finally about halfway through the season all responded with fixes and troubleshot the problems and the class was good the last 4 races. The cars weren’t ready to go the first 3 races of the year. Riley still wasn’t ready to go in the middle of the season. Remember Mosport in Canada. The Riley was cautioning up the track like 10 minutes into the race came back out and again died on circuit. Glad VF left and got a W at Monterey in a different rig which just emphasises it wasn’t the team.

    • Psychlops924

      October 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      No, they definitely saw the season, but they’re taking a gamble. Did you not read that Joest, who ran Audi’s LMP1 program in the WEC, is working with Mazda and Multimatic to resolve the chassis issues? Yes, it’s definitely a gamble, but based on the assumption that they probably got the car from Keating for cheap, and on the fact that Joest is an extremely successful team that knows how to built fast cars, I think this could end up being a really smart gamble. We won’t know til the season starts, but it’s not as daft a move as you appear to think it is.

      • Helmut

        October 24, 2017 at 9:53 am

        > that Joest is an extremely successful team that knows how to built fast cars

        Joest doesn’t build cars…

        • tracer

          October 24, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          True. But they do develop cars…

    • Andy Flinn

      October 24, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Mike S., I know it’s fun to bash Riley; however, VFR didn’t go from a DNF.

      The very first race for VFR in the Riley was a podium (third place behind the mighty WTR and AXR Caddys and best of the Euro-spec LMP2/Gibsons) at this year’s Rolex24 at Daytona.

    • EDH

      October 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Did you somehow miss that the entire car is getting re-homologated?

  4. Steven

    October 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    It’s a bold strategy Cotton.

  5. David Chaste

    October 23, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    They better have insight that we dont. Even at a discount it’s not worth the embarassment this choice could bring…unless the car is very much improved.

    • Northstar

      October 23, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      They were a PC team, I’m sure they are used to the embarrassment by now.

      • LOL

        October 23, 2017 at 11:38 pm

        Savage lol

    • Cactus Tony

      October 24, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Nobody has more insight than internet commenters

  6. Johannes275

    October 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Good news to hear. Now I hope that’s the last of them. Any more and GTLM might be asked to go away, and I don’t want that to happen [yet].

    • tracer

      October 24, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      I’m assuming you meant GTD? GTLM is as safe as safe gets.

  7. Coach Ep

    October 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Wonder if the possible second car is gonna be purchased from Visit Florida (in case they decide to stick with Ligier or go to a Caddy DPi) and Adler needs a similar budget deal.

    • Psychlops924

      October 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm

      That’s a really astute observation, and one I would put my money on. VFR haven’t said anything about selling their Riley, have they?

    • tracer

      October 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      One would imagine that they’ll be in touch with VFR if they haven’t been already.

  8. John Favata

    October 23, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I would be saying all the same things but does everyone believe Joest is going to show up with the same turd chassis/aero in January… I don’t think so and BAR1 is going to get all the changes/benefits for free. The Mazda bodywork is different but they still have to upgrade the whole Riley/Multimatic package. Yes it is still a gamble but the Joest equation makes this look like a good hand to me!!!

    • tracer

      October 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      I’m with ya on that as far as Joest’s long track record goes. However, the big question mark for me is just how much aero development the global spec bodywork will get considering Joest’s direct involvement is limited to the Mazda DPi bodywork. While most of the reported issues with the Riley were related to packaging and cooling, it was painfully evident at Daytona and the LM24 that the Riley suffered from major aero ineffeciency and excess drag as compared to the other LMP2 global chassis.

  9. Slicks in the wet

    October 24, 2017 at 12:41 am

    They just need to offer a top level car to charge pro ams to get in a race. Winning? Being on the entry list and having a catering tent with a corporate logo is winning.

  10. John

    October 24, 2017 at 1:28 am

    A big gamble, no doubt.

    They’re betting that the updates being developed (which do touch on the fundamentals of the car — suspension and rigidity, as well as fit and finish) and being the joker will make them a bit of a dark horse.

    Whether it will be enough to turn the ducking into a swan remains to be seen, but having another competitive chassis option would be a good thing.

  11. SaskRacer

    October 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I’d have to imagine that having a group like Joest work on the Joker, along with Multimatic had to be somewhat confidence inspiring for potential customers. Joest knows as well as anyone what a good prototype needs. Riley is the big winner in this, as they got to wash their hands of the development while maintaining their brand presence and likely the sales if/when they can sell more global spec cars.

    • tracer

      October 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      I think that Riley’s status and standing isn’t helped at all by any of the recent developments with regard to the LMP2. I’d love to be wrong about this, but I highly doubt I’ll see another prototype produced under the Riley banner during my lifetime.

  12. KW

    October 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    For a private team with a limited budget, this is a good decision. The used Riley chassis is the cheapest way to enter LMP2 and to offer a platform for drivers with a budget for the 2018 season. And with the Joest/Mazda updates, this might even be a competitive platform.

  13. Bjones

    October 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

    For all you internet experts let me help you. 1. Joest is the best road racing team in the world,especially preparing cars 2. Alder was the crew chief and engineer on the one car that competed and gave Joest hell for years. 3, Alder knows Joest very well and will be good bed partners. Alder went into PC after he competed in P1 for years and like Dagy’s said has won Lemans and had a few misses. 3. You do know what is up his sleeve. 4. He is one smart cookie and did I say you do not know what is up his sleeve. 5. The Riley was built, as usual, with a ton of down force which does not bode well with a high revving Gibson, Joest will reduce the down force and sleek it up, speed it up and make it work. So lets see what comes up in about a month, when these cars start showing up a Sebring, some already have, and the hates of testing begins.

  14. Jean-Marc Poitras

    October 25, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Does anybody know if VF will be using Ligier chassis for the next season?

  15. Slicks in the wet

    October 26, 2017 at 5:46 am

    I think they want to buy a Cadillac, but barring that, yeah, probably stay with Ligier.

  16. Jeff Wagner

    October 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    For all of the people that were negative about LMPC… (It was a FANTASTIC class in my strong opinion and not interested in a debate on that, agree to disagee)…There are negatives to anything, but this is an example of WHY LMPC was created and a FANTASTIC positive result from it! BAR1 wasn’t running in the A.L.M.S. in ANY class until they created LMPC! The merger/buy out happened they continued to run LMPC until it’s unfortunate end, NOW we have a BRAND NEW LMP2 TEAM next year and a VERY well run one, with their main rival probably moving up too!

    • Slicks in the wet

      October 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      What option did they have for a Pro-Am project in a prototype style car?

      To say PC was a jumping off point to a higher class when the PC class was eliminated is just silly.

      I mean, only other place for them is GTD. I WOULD say GTD is better than PC ever was. But it still would have only happened because they were forced to ditch their garbage FLM09 car. Not because they saw some marketing sense/reason to ‘upgrade.’

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