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AFS, PR1/Mathiasen Join Forces for Ligier LMP2 Entry

Sebastian Saavedra, Gustavo Yacaman to drive new AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson entry…

Image: AFS/PR1 Mathiasen

AFS Racing has joined forces with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports to enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, fielding a Ligier JS P217 Gibson for Sebastian Saavedra and Gustavo Yacaman.

The announcement came Tuesday in Colombia, in a team that will now be known as AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, with Gary Peterson and Bobby Oergel sharing duties as team principals.

It will mark Peterson and AFS’ entry into sports car racing, following multiple championships, wins and poles in Indy Lights and IndyCar Series competition.

The merger comes just one year after the California-based PR1/Mathiasen squad stepped up to the Prototype class, on the heels of a successful campaign in Prototype Challenge that included class wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

“Everyone of the team members were so happy to learn about this opportunity that we’ve been able to assemble,” Oergel said. 

“AFS and Gary Peterson’s passion for motorsports fits right in with how strong we believe the team can be.

“It’s obviously a bit tough at the moment with how late this has come together, but the big picture is what this partnership is all about and I am looking forward to a long and prosperous future for all of us together.”

Peterson added: “Along with Bobby, I hope to continue on building the team along with Onroak for technical support. With both our involvement we have been able to put a very good selection of drivers to run the races starting within weeks.

“We selected the drivers in order to aggressively compete and run the entire schedule and contend for a championship.”

Saavedra, meanwhile, will make his full-time sports car debut, with the 27-year-old Colombian teaming up with countryman Yacaman for the entire 10-round championship.

The team’s third driver for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races and fourth for the Rolex 24, have yet to be announced.

“I’m very excited with this new chapter in my career, and very honored and humbled to be a part of building this new organization together with Gary Peterson and Bobby Oergel,” Saavedra said.

“It’s something that has been in the works for two years now and making it a reality is definitely one of the highlights of my career. 

“I’m looking forward on the whole concept of Team Colombia and building a very strong alliance and performance team in what will be a very competitive season.”

Yacaman added: “It’s the first time two Colombian drivers work together for one common goal. We will be an example for many generations to come.”

Former RGR Sport team manager Toni Calderon, meanwhile, has joined the team as Commercial and Sporting Director.

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

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Devin

    December 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Saavedra and Yacaman in the same car? Good thing it is painted in bright colors so other people can see them coming. Seriously, I hope Ligier is giving them a big spares package.

    • Jack

      December 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Couldn’t be more exspesive than last year with Jose Gutierrez.

      • Ron Thompson

        December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

        And Sebastian has never run a full IMSA season. Cut him some slack.

    • Mike S.

      December 19, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Good job looking at bright side before anything happens. This team has been pro/am since PC days which was required. They were pro/am last year when they didn’t need to be. At least Saveedra is a racing pro and they won’t have an AM. I know Saveedra hasn’t won anything and crashes but I haven’t seen any of those other Gannassi 3rd and 4th Indycars fair any better since Saveedra left. Also, Saveedra would still might be in Indycar after his sure win with 8 laps to go in the lead at the finale at Sonoma if it wasn’t for team orders to pit (from Ganassi) while in the lead so that one Mr. Dixon could get that 1 point to win the title. I am not saying anymore.

  2. Ron Thompson

    December 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Good looking car.

    • John

      December 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Agree Looks like a racing car

  3. Kyle

    December 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Good to see that PR1 are able to stay full-time.

    I think Seb and Yac Attack have *mostly* moved on from their crashing ways, and they should be able to be fairly quick. Best of luck to them.

  4. Kyle

    December 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    “I’m looking forward on the whole concept of Team Colombia and building a very strong alliance and performance team in what will be a very competitive season.”

    Yacaman added: “It’s the first time two Colombian drivers work together for one common goal. We will be an example for many generations to come.”

    Hopefully they bring in Munoz in an NAEC capacity.

  5. idk

    December 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Chaves

  6. Sir Skidsalot

    December 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

    You’ll be able to see that car from space. The more the merrier, can’t wait till the Roar Before. Were they on the list of probables from last month? Looks to be an interesting year in DPi/LMP2.

    • Jack

      December 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Yes, this is the same 52 from last year and they stated before that they would be at Daytona.

  7. Kurt

    December 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

    If they can keep it clean they should be competitive. Seeing references to Onroak support is a good thing, wasn’t it at Watkins Glen last year that they brought in Ligier staff/Pla and all of the sudden were crazy fast? Glad it’s a full season entry too!

  8. NaBUru38

    December 19, 2017 at 10:07 am

    The third driver would be Roberto González.

    • Riverside

      December 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      I’d bet is going to be Muñoz

  9. Billthe3

    December 19, 2017 at 11:58 am

    The banana boat and Red Dragon are now joined by the banana dragon.

    • Pete

      December 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      PR1: “Alright, we saw last year how a brightly colored car can garner a lot of publicity for a small team with JDC’s Banana Boat. Now that they also have an Apple Cart, how can we try and match that marketability with only 1 car?”

      Gary Peterson: “Hold my beer…”

  10. Binky

    December 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    “Gustavo Yacaman”

    Ugh…

    • Riverside

      December 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Yup, that one, the one who won last two endurance races for Graf LMP2 in ELMS this year

  11. Jack

    December 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    “We selected the drivers in order to aggressively compete and run the entire schedule and contend for a championship” lolol that’s an understatement.

  12. David Chaste

    December 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    All i know is they can be as fast as anyone. So all the crashing jokes aside I really wish them the best and a competitive year.

    The FIA WEC grid’s LMP1 would have to put on a serious show to match the IMSA prototype field.

    Carlos Munoz deserves a ride in m opinion, so I would want him as the third driver. His results at AJ Foyt are more a reflection of the team’s shortcomings than him. His results at Andretti shows what he is capable of.

    These guys will want a piece of Montoya anytime he’s in the Penske car. They would want to beat the country’s racing reference to cement their legacy.

  13. Daniel

    December 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    IMSA is on a roll, man… Can’t wait for 2018!

  14. Ricky Joe Johnson

    December 19, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Sport needs more AMERICANS. This foreign bullcrap will kill IMSA. Someone should buy all of the Gen 3 DP chassis and throw DP motors in them. Run it as support to Indycar! MAKE IMSA GREAT AGAIN.

    • Ricky Joe Johnson

      December 20, 2017 at 6:20 am

      I was going to write some more stuff but I got to brush my tooth and take care of my pregnant wife/cousin. Go NASCAR!

    • David Chaste

      December 20, 2017 at 8:06 am

      The teams are 95-99 percent all Americans and so are the owners. American driver will always get first dibs. But what makes America great is also it’s free market mentality. The owners get the drivers they prefer and any driver anywhere in the world can come compete as well, and may the best combination win out. As an American team owner wouldn’t you want the freedom to choose whomever you wanted to race for your team?

      This has made a national series like IMSA a serious rival to a globe trotting championship like the FIA WEC.

      In the Grand Am days when they competed against the ALMS American drivers were funded and prioritized. But now that there’s no ALMS, this is geared fully to become the best sportscar series and attract the best international drivers in the world.

      • thomas

        December 20, 2017 at 8:38 am

        don’t worry it’s a very lame troll account.

      • Andy Flinn

        December 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

        David, “Ricky” is a NASCAR-bashing troll and a “real” credit to the sports car racing community.

        He is a perfect example of what is holding our favorite sport back from the popularity, growth and success it could ultimately achieve.

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