IMSA Spotlight: Brent O’Neill
Team Owner, Performance Tech Motorsports
How would you rate the 2016 season?
“2016 was a good year for us. We were competitive at all the races this year. Daytona was our only mechanical [failure] and it was a engine failure; we did not score points for James and Kyle and if that does not happen I think it would of been a different outcome in the points battle. But we still finished P3 in the championship.
“The biggest think for us was how our crew performed in the pits. They killed it this year. [James] French was on fire at every race and Kyle [Marcelli] did a great job for us also. In the box, Jim and Gwenn worked really close together and there was no stone unturned playing the strategy game.
“Everyone saw [that] at COTA with two Silvers in the car, we where two laps away from a win when we caught the sister car of Starworks and he intentionally held up James, who had been in the car for two hours.
“Having an engine expire at Daytona and we needed 15 minutes for our Silver driver to get points… that was a pretty bad deal for us.”
With only one year left, what will you be looking to achieve in PC in 2017?
“Our goal in 2017 is to win the Championship with James!”
The team has been in the PC class virtually from its start. How much has the class influenced your business?
“It has been a big influence on our business model. The biggest problem IMSA has is that there’s no place for the kids to go from Mazda Lites. The LMP3 budget is double and the car is double in price and we will only be doing 45-minutes races with the P3 car, which from our business model makes no sense.
“So we are looking at ways to move the kids up from Mazda Lites to the next level.”
You were recently awarded the Continental Tire Extreme Spirit award. What does it mean for you and the team?
“What an honor for our team to win this award… There where a lot of people in the industry that had to make a decision on what team the award went to in PC and it is pretty cool that all of the people we deal with on a daily basis in IMSA picked us.
“We try and run the company with the spirit that we are all on the same playing field; all of the competitors and officials are treated with great respect.”
What does the future hold for Performance Tech? Do you see opportunities in LMP3 and LMP2?
“Our Mazda Lites program will be pretty good in 2017 as long as IMSA fixes the engine program. The cars are really awesome for the kids that want to learn how to drive a downforce car.
“If you look at any of the kids that have done well in the Mazda Lites cars and get into PC or a good [GT car], they are quick right out of the box.
“We will have to do a P3 [program] and we are making some decisions on a direction for P3 for our company right now. I think the P3 will be full of Masters since they can afford it and is really a dead-end street in 2017, so I don’t see many kids jumping into the P3 car in 2017. If IMSA moves it to the big show we might see that change.
“We definitely have our eye on LMP2 but we are going to wait to see how things shake out in 2017. We will make a decision in the middle of the year as we watch watch what chassis and engine combo works.”