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BAR1 Planning 24H Le Mans Effort

BAR1 Motorsports set to submit entry request for 24 Hours of Le Mans with Riley LMP2…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

A second Prototype team representing the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship could be on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, with BAR1 Motorsports set to submit an entry request for the French endurance classic.

The Brian Alder-led squad has stepped up to the top prototype ranks with the ex-Keating Motorsports Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, which will feature significant aero and mechanical updates for next year, with the hope of taking the fight to other LMP2 teams both Stateside and abroad.

“We’ll put an entry request in and see what happens,” Alder told Sportscar365. “That will be exciting if we can go do that next year.”

Alder is no stranger to Le Mans, having served as crew chief and team manager for Intersport Racing during its appearances from 2003-06, including the team’s LMP2 class victory in 2004 with Clint Field, Bill Binnie and Rick Sutherland.

“It’s changed a lot, from what I’ve heard,” Alder said. “I was over there ten years ago. It would be exciting to see how it all goes.

“Obviously David Cheng, who drove with us last year, has had a lot of success there. There’s no real black art to it; it’s the same stuff we do all the time [in IMSA]. We feel like we can go and do a good job, and have some fun.”

Alder said the interest level among its crop of existing drivers, who are expected to make up the team’s WeatherTech Championship lineup, has been high, with the team likely to get help from an existing European-based organization for logistics and support equipment.

“We would run it ourselves but we’d look for someone to help support it,” he said. “They would help us with the European-spec stuff we don’t have.

“A lot of mechanics we’ve worked with in the past are European-based, so we’d probably re-connect with a lot of them.”

With Keating having sold his chassis to BAR1, Alder’s Ohio-based team is expected to be the only Riley LMP2 team requesting an entry, which could help its chances with the ACO Selection Committee.

BAR1 would join JDC-Miller Motorsports, which secured IMSA’s at-large invite for LMP2 courtesy of its driver Mikhail Goikberg, who won the Jim Trueman Award this year. Both teams would be making its respective debuts in the race.

Major Updates to Riley LMP2

Alder said the Riley LMP2 will receive signifiant mechanical updates ahead of January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona that will likely transform the car’s handling and performance.

The FIA granted the car its single-permitted ‘Joker’ that allows mechanical and aero updates for 2018.

Many of the same developments made to the Riley-chassied Mazda RT24-P will carry over to the LMP2-spec machine, including all new components from the bellhousing on back.

“Every single mechanical piece [will be] new,” Alder said. “Suspension design, a new bellhousing.

“Right now, the bellhousing is the big lead time item; it takes like 12 weeks to make that. It’s almost done and that’s the one thing we’re waiting on. Everything else is ready.”

BAR1 took part in this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona with aero updates only and expects to get the full package in time for next month’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

“Multimatic has been very helpful, the same with Riley,” Alder said. “They’ve been trying to help as much as they can to get us up to speed, even the Visit Florida guys have been helping us out.”

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

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Vic

    December 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Racer.com says this is the ex Spirit of Daytona car and this report says it is the ex Ben Keating LM24 car. So which one is it?

    • John Dagys

      December 7, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Brian told me he acquired Ben’s car. Also confirmed by several members on the team.

  2. Tim

    December 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    What teams got the auto invite from IMSA?

    Obviously JDC, but isn’t there a second auto invite? Don’t remember seeing a story on those.

    • John Dagys

      December 7, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Ben Keating got the second auto-entry (for GTE-Am). IMSA hasn’t formally announced it yet.

      • jason

        December 8, 2017 at 10:59 am

        The issue is that we will have in increase in both LMP1 and GTE Pro entries for Le Mans in 2018. I think the group that should be worried are the ELMS LMP2 teams. Personally I’m ok with that. I am guessing that there should be no limit to LMP1 and GTE pro entries. So they all get in first. Then you fill in the WEC full timers for LMP2 and GTE Am. Then you fill the IMSA, ELMS, and AsLMS automatic invites. Then finally the rest of the LMP2 and GTE Am entry requests fight for the spots that is left if there is any.

  3. Vic

    December 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for the clarification John

  4. David Chaste

    December 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Is it possible they got both cars. Keating’s and visif florida’s. One as a spare. The tub itself should be identical. And part of the body work.

    Besides they have an army of ride buyers licking their chops to say they raced against F1 and Indycar drivers. They couzld field 2 cars later.

    Wish i could buy a 2 race stint. Cota and road america.

    • John Dagys

      December 7, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      No. They only have one car, for now.

    • tracer

      December 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      COTA is not on the 2018 IMSA calendar.

      • David Chaste

        December 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

        That’s right. Been busy trying to get rich to one day afford a ride.

        I would do Mosport then.

  5. Anonymous

    December 8, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Nice to see that the Riley will be “hopefully” going back to Le-Mans, really hoping its joker upgrade works.

    John I don’t suppose there’s any news on Signatech Alpine’s plans for 2018 are there? They have been suspiciously quiet on their future.

  6. Matt

    December 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Other than the headlights there are no visible changes to the car but the article says they have significant aero updates. What am I missing here?

    • Pete

      December 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

      The front fenders look different to me, but I remember reading in some of the Mazda articles that the big changes were to the underbody.

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