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BAR1 Closing in on Oreca LMP2 Program

BAR1 Motorsports working to field up to two Oreca 07 Gibsons in 2018…

Photo: John Thawley/BAR1

BAR1 Motorsports could soon be the latest team to graduate to the top prototype class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the Ohio-based squad closing in on a possible two-car entry with Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 cars next year, according to team principal Brian Alder.

Alder’s Prototype Challenge squad, along with class rivals Performance Tech Motorsports, have both been working on making the step up, with the spec prototype category set to end following next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans.

According to Alder, securing a P class effort has been “90 percent” of his focus, and has made progress significant progress in recent weeks.

“We’re close for sure,” he told Sportscar365. “I don’t want to put a number on it, but it’s definitely right there.

“We’re looking at a lot of different options, one car or two cars. [There’s] nothing 100 percent yet but we’re down the road with quite a few people.”

Having been a part of the PC class since its inception in 2010 and fielding Oreca FLM09s under his own team, Alder admitted they’re likely to continue their relationship with the French constructor, should its LMP2 program get the green light.

“It would be really hard not to go with ORECA,” he said. “The car is proven; it’s a great car and is similar chassis to what we know already.

“We know all of the guys at ORECA, and with Penske and Acura, it’s just going to improve the program.

“I’d imagine there’s going to be more track support at each event. Any technical updates or information, I’m sure will be shared down through the pipeline.

“Right now, that would be the one you’d go with.”

Alder admitted he’s had mixed levels of interest from funded drivers, with some having preferred to remain in a Pro-Am-enforced class.

However, with the WeatherTech Championship being reduced to a three-class series, it leave the P category as the only option for prototype drivers, at a cost Alder estimates to be “easily double” the current budget in PC.

“The opinions vary, but there’s really only one option at this point,” he said. “There’s only one scenario.

“It is a big step financially. From a team’s standpoint, it’s just a different car under the tent; the operations are very similar.

“We’re getting closer and pushing really hard to lock everything up. For sure by Petit Le Mans, before we head into that race.”

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

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