BAR1 Motorsports is set to make modern-day IMSA history this weekend at Kansas, as the Ohio-based squad is preparing to run its No. 88 Prototype Challenge car with only one driver.
Doug Bielefeld will pilot BAR1’s entry in Saturday’s Kansas Grand Prix, which will be split up into a pair of 45-minute sprint races.
Per the event’s rules, a Bronze or Silver-rated driver must qualify and drive the entire first segment. However, that same driver may also continue in the second segment, which eliminates the need of a co-driver.
“The first three races have all been about track time,” team owner Brian Alder told Sportscar365. “Unfortunately for all of our drivers, they’ve had limited track time because of red flags and the number of cars in a session to get clean laps. It’s just very limited experience they can gain out of a standard race weekend.
“This is kind of the opposite. There’s only PC cars and IMSA LItes cars out there and really to maximize the driver’s seat time, you’re allowed to have only one driver. You can focus all your attention on one driver.
“It’s a unique opportunity to really just get our driver more comfortable and up to speed at race events without feeling rushed.”
The No. 88 entry of the Bronze-rated Bielefeld and Ryan Eversley was forced to withdraw from last month’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after an accident in practice, which damaged the tub of the spec prototype.
It came following two other costly accidents at Daytona and Sebring, which has put a financial burden on Alder’s tightly run operation that had fought for the ALMS PC championship in 2013.
“We’ve put good and fast cars together but we just need to catch a break and get some luck heading our way,” Alder said. “Unfortunately that hasn’t happened this year but that’s how racing goes sometimes. You have good years, you have off years.
“I think that shows the strength of a team. You just have to keep fighting and showing up and doing what you can do.”
Alder said he hopes to return to a two-car PC operation for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen later this month, while also targeting to enter the second car for the season-ending Petit Le Mans and potentially a few other races.
BAR1, however, will still have two cars in this weekend’s race at Kansas, as Alder will be at the wheel of his Prototype Lites machine, as the IMSA development series will race together with the 10-car PC field.