After winning the 2013 IMSA Prototype Lites championship and impressing in his American Le Mans Series debut, Sean Rayhall has landed a full-season ride with BAR1 Motorsports for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The 18-year-old rising star is the first confirmed driver with the Brian Alder-owned team, which heads into the 2014 season on the heels of three consecutive Prototype Challenge class victories.
Rayhall originally had plans to contest the TUDOR Championship with 8Star Motorsports, having co-driven the team’s Oreca FLM09 to a runner-up finish at the Petit Le Mans in October.
“It was a tough call,” Rayhall told Sportscar365. “I really wanted to be loyal and be with the 8Star crew. Unfortunately at the time, they couldn’t offer me a full-time deal.
“Speaking with Brian at BAR1, who I met earlier this year running [IMSA] Lites, they were looking for some new stuff. We started talking and discovered some options. It was a good fit for me over here.
“Right now, we’re working out the specifics for everything. It was one of those deals that came together that fell into place. I’m really thankful for the chance that Brian gave me.”
Rayhall claimed six wins and 12 podiums in his championship-winning Lites season. He now follows in the footsteps of 2012 champion Tristan Nunez, who made the jump up to full-time PC competition last year, proving the success of IMSA’s ladder system.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Rayhall added. “I spoke a lot with the engineers [Thursday] and feel like I’m on the same page with everybody here. So far, it’s been a good start to the chapter.”
Rayhall’s co-driver has yet to be determined, although Alder said they are working on a few different options.
Doug Bielefeld and Chapman Ducote will also test the No. 87 Oreca FLM09 in this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, while the team’s second PC entry, which will not take part in testing, could resurface for the race, should sufficient funding be found.