Starworks Motorsport will expand into a three-car Prototype Challenge operation for selected upcoming IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, featuring top driving talent in an additional Oreca FLM09.
Sportscar365 has confirmed that open-wheel turned sports car rising star Jose Gutierrez will pilot the PC entry in a three-round sprint race program, with Sean Rayhall joining the 20-year-old Mexican at Lime Rock Park and Gustavo Yacaman at Road America and Circuit of The Americas.
Gutierrez, who is taking part in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, will now have a seven-race PC program this season between the two teams.
“I want to thank Peter Baron for giving me this huge opportunity,” Gutierrez told Sportscar365.
“It’s great being able to race with Sean at Lime Rock and Gustavo at Road America and COTA. I think we’re going to be very positive.
“Sean raced with 8Star two years ago and Yacaman is a LMP2 driver and this year he’s racing GT. But he has a lot of experience. I think it’s very good to me.”
DeltaWing driver Rayhall, who starred in the PC class in 2013 with 8Star Motorsports, said he’s looking forward to the one-off race at Lime Rock, an event that does not feature the Prototype class.
“I’m really excited to have a chance to go out there and win,” Rayhall told Sportscar365.
“We’ve had a rough few races in the DeltaWing and we’re trying to hit our strong point in the season, but it’s going to be a pleasure to drive for Peter Baron at Starworks and be back with the guys.
“I talked to Toni [Calderon] when I got the call from Speed Group to do it. I jumped all over it because I was excited.
“Working with young talents is something you don’t get to do often and to be part of his program, I’m just fortunate to be able to get the call.”
Yacaman, meanwhile, will take Rayhall’s seat for the Road America and COTA rounds, marking the Colombian’s return to the WeatherTech Championship for the first time since 2014.
Baron said the team will utilize one of Mirco Schultis’ PC chassis, which will be upgraded to 2016-spec alongside Starworks’ existing season-long Nos. 8 and 88 entries.
The majority of the additional crew, meanwhile, will come from the Fifty Plus Racing squad, which Starworks operates this year in the Patron Endurance Cup.
“It’s a nice thing to say about the class as I think people want to get out here. It’s just been a lack of cars [available],” Baron told Sportscar365.
“Mirco was talking about updating his car anyway, so we already had plans to convert it to Motec [electronics] and he was going to use it for club racing back in Europe. All this stuff was already on order.”
The additional entry comes as a significant boost to the spec prototype class, which has seen slightly lower car counts this year, in its second-to-final season of eligibility.