BAR1 Motorsports has confirmed that it will campaign a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson LMP2 car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with an eye towards competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Brian Alder-led squad will make the step up from the Prototype Challenge ranks, after winning the class-ending Motul Petit Le Mans earlier this month, with a to-be-announced driver lineup for its season-long 2018 entry.
A second Multimatic-Riley-built car is also possible for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.
“Obviously, this is an important step for us,” said Alder. “The move to LMP2 opens up a lot of opportunities for the team. Running in the series’ flagship class attracts a higher level of marketing partners, top tier drivers and, for me personally, a chance to return to Le Mans.”
While having initially explored a move to the Prototype class with an Oreca 07 Gibson, Alder has instead acquired the ex-Keating Motorsports Riley, which will receive the FIA and ACO’s permitted ‘joker’ chassis and aero updates.
The performance evolution, spearheaded by Multimatic, is being made largely to improve the functionality of the Mazda RT24-P, but per LMP2 rules, must also be applied to all current chassis at no charge to the customers.
“After spending the past few months researching the different options for our move into the prototype class, we feel this car has the most potential of the P2 cars and is the best fit for our program in 2018,” Alder said.
“Multimatic’s continued support from Mazda and their new relationship with Team Joest only enhances the attractiveness of this program. Clearly, they learned quite a bit in 2017.
“I’ve seen first hand the changes they have made for 2018 and they are impressive. They have definitely done their homework and the initial testing results from overseas are exceeding everyone’s expectations.”
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that despite the significant overhaul from Multimatic, he expects the car to still be known as a Riley.
Le Mans Debut on Target
Alder, meanwhile, has laid out the target of taking BAR1 to Le Mans, potentially as early as next year, pending an invite from the ACO.
While it would mark the Ohio-based team’s debut in the French endurance classic, Alder is a former class-winning crew chief and team manager with Intersport Racing, which made four consecutive starts from 2003-06, and taking the LMP2 class win in 2004 with Clint Field, Bill Binnie and Rick Sutherland.
The team expects to take delivery of its first Riley LMP2 car within the next few weeks, ahead of an initial shakedown and participation in IMSA’s December test at Daytona, which is mandatory for all new or modified cars.