Continental Tire IMSA Spotlight: John Church
Team Principal: JDC-Miller Motorsports
How has the off-season gone as you gear up for the 2018 season?
“It has been busy with the addition of a second car for 2018. Luckily we decided fairly early that we wanted to expand to two cars so a lot of planning was already underway.
“We received the second car right after [Petit Le Mans] and just concluded the first test with both cars at Sebring which went very well. It was also great to see how close both cars were right from the get go.
“We have a few more tests in November and December before we go to the Roar. Everything is on schedule and we hope we can announce the lineup for the second car in the next couple of weeks.”
How big of a step up is it for the team to run a second car after a single-car entry last year?
“To be honest it almost feels like the step last year from Prototype Challenge to the Prototype class felt like a bigger step for us since there was so much unknown with the new car and it took us a while to figure it all out.
“As an organization we always have operated multi-car programs in several other series so that is nothing new. Adding the second car is mainly a process of putting the right talent and structure in place.
“It’s racing so you always try to improve and learn as you progress but in some aspects it actually will make things easier running two cars rather than just a single entry.”
With your 2017 driver lineup back in one car, how important do you expect continuity to be for that group?
“Very important for sure. There is no question that the success we had in 2017 is also directly related to how close Misha, Chris and Stephen have become, the same goes for the entire 85 crew as a team.
“They know each other very well which is a big help. Misha has been with us as an organization for eight years, Chris even longer. Stephen has been with us since 2014 but was involved in some of our other programs before that.
“Without question continuity is a big part of why we believe the 85 has been doing so well and we wanted to make sure we kept the core group together.”
How has your relationship with Oreca grown over the years?
“Oreca is a great partner for us and it was the right choice for our team to stay with them when we moved to the prototype class in 2017.
“They have been a great partner to work with on both the technical and customer service side of things.”
What are your expectations for the Prototype class in 2018?
“I expect the 2018 Prototype class to be ultra-competitive. It looks like the class could see 18 entries on a regular basis and I think that will be great for all involved – especially the fans!
“The growth that the class has seen in the last several months is very encouraging for our team and partners.”