Of all the championships to be decided during the Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta, none have a wider range of potential outcomes than the MPC class in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda.
And of all of the points leaders going into the season-ending event, none will be in a more unique position when they arrive at the track in just three weeks than One Motorsports.
The team’s No. 86 Mazda-powered Elan DP02 driven by Dave House leads seven cars within nine points of the championship lead, with four of those within five points.
If the pressure of having to podium – or most likely win the race – to secure the championship isn’t enough, the team also will find itself behind the “8-ball” from the get-go when they arrive at Road Atlanta.
Following a heavy incident two races ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, House’s car was essentially totaled. Despite finding a solution for the Virginia International Raceway event on Aug. 18, the team was left without a car for their points leader for Road Atlanta and will have to lease a car from former competitor JDC Motorsports for the championship-deciding event.
“I talked to [JDC Motorsports CEO] John (Church) while we were at VIR and he’s got a couple of cars still,” said team owner Jeff Shafter. “We’re not even going to see that car until we show up to the track. We’ll have a setup day to get some of the bells and whistles on that it needs to be legal and go from there.”
It’s certainly a tough spot to be in, but One Motorsports is up to the challenge.
Relatively new to the series, joining IPC in 2014, the team broke through in a big way in March at Sebring when House became IMSA’s oldest race winner at the age of 75.
The dream season continued one race ago at VIR when a runner-up finish for House and co-driver/driver coach Mikel Miller, coupled with a series of mechanical issues and incidents from their closest competitors, propelled House to the top of the MPC standings.
“Honestly I’m not even sure how we ended up in this position,” said Shafer. “We didn’t finish at [Canadian Tire Motorsport Park] or we’d be in even better shape. With all of the teams out there and how competitive it’s been, it would be quite an honor for us to win this championship.”
Shafer credits the development of House as one of the many reasons why One Motorsports finds itself in the points lead.
The other, is the debut of the one-hour, 45-minute endurance race format that now brings pit stops and strategy into place.
“I have data from Dave from the last three, four, five years and he’s driving as good as ever,” he said. “We started out with him in Radicals and progressed up into this championship and he really has gotten better. He’s more comfortable with the car, knows more of what it needs to go quick and he’s serious about it. He’s been driving race cars for a long time and he’s still learning, that’s good to see.”