AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports will make the switch from Ligier to ORECA LMP2 machinery for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The California-based squad confirmed that it has acquired a brand-new Oreca 07 Gibson, which Gustavo Yacaman and Sebastian Saavedra will pilot beginning with next month’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The mid-year change comes after a nearly two-year campaign with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson, in what has been the only full-season IMSA LMP2 entrant representing Onroak Automotive.
“I first want to thank the Nicolet and Crawford families and Onroak for their continued support and efforts to help us as a team over the last couple of seasons,” said team principal Bobby Oergel.
“Max, Jacques and Pierre have been great to work with and we look forward to continuing that relationship with our LMP3 and F4 programs.
“On the switch of chassis, It’s a tough time of the year to make this change for sure but there’s no time like the present to make the preparations for next year and push hard to finish off 2018 with a good result.”
The switch marks a return to ORECA for PR1, which had enjoyed success with the French constructor in the single-make Prototype Challenge class from 2010-16.
“We are happy to welcome back Bobby and the AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports team in the ORECA family,” said ORECA customer racing service manager Anthony Megevand.
“We know them since many years from the LMPC era and not racing together in LMP2 was a kind of unfinished story. It’s a strong commitment from the team and we are looking forward to see AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports on track with ORECA 07.”
Oergel and team co-owner Ray Mathiasen said the chassis switch has been made with an eye to 2019, as it plans to contest the newly formed LMP2 category, which will be Pro-Am enforced.
“The separation of the DPi and LMP2 classes in 2019 is something Leslie and I feel was necessary and a very welcome change for the future,” Mathiasen said.
“And now we have been able to purchase our new equipment from ORECA in time to be able to compete at Laguna Seca, our home track, and at Road Atlanta.
“This will give us the valuable experience we’ll need to prepare for 2019 giving Bobby and crew the opportunity to once again return to the podium finishes that have escaped us since our move up to the prototype class.
“We couldn’t be any more enthusiastic about the rest of this season and next year.”