K2R Motorsports is set to step up to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with a full-season LMP2 program in the works.
The Nevada-based operation, which won both the overall and Bronze Cup classes of the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship this year, has revealed plans to field an Oreca 07 Gibson for Steven Thomas (pictured above, left) and a yet-to-be-determined co-driver.
According to team owner/manager Bobby Golasinski, the LMP2 endeavor has been fueled by Thomas’ target of competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We purchased a car and are getting it shipped over along with engines,” Golasinski told Sportscar365. “We have six test days scheduled throughout December.
“Steven’s goal for 2022 is Le Mans and WEC. So we might as well get started in a LMP2 car now.”
Golasinski said the newly crowned IPC Bronze Cup champion only got his start in racing about a year ago and has been on a steep learning curve.
Thomas — an accomplished attorney — already drove one of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Orecas prior to committing to the forthcoming season in LMP2.
“He’s done three test days in it and seems rather competent in it, so it’s not like he’s out to lunch,” Golasinski said.
“We know we need to bring in a little bit higher level of expertise on the LMP2 [program]. We know Steven is going to be on a learning curve but he wants a team at the top level.
“With our expansion, we’re trying to enhance our management and structure all the way down, so we don’t burn anybody to the ground.”
K2R, which will return to IPC with at least two new-gen Duqueine D08 Nissans in 2021, has bolstered its staff with veteran engineer John Dick taking on the role of technical director and its second LMP3 engineer moving into the LMP2 program in a junior role.
Golasinski said they are still looking to fill “key positions” in the LMP2 operation with crew that has previous class experience.
The team is expecting to take delivery of the Oreca next Monday, ahead of a multi-day test at Buttonwillow Raceway in December and likely outings at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev. later in the month.
LMP3 Squad Set for Expansion in IPC
K2R could field as many as three Duqueine LMP3 cars in IPC next year, with both Thomas and reigning overall champion Naveen Rao planning to return with brand-new chassis.
Rao and Matt Bell won the 2020 overall title with two victories, including five podium finishes in six races.
The team is also in advanced talks with an undisclosed driver that could run in a third entry, which would be an upgraded car from one of its Norma M30 Nissans that it campaigned this year.
Golasinski said there’s also been interest in the new-for-2021 LMP3 class of the WeatherTech Championship, although nothing has been finalized.
“I think the budgets are a little bit higher than what people were expecting them to be for LMP3,” he explained.
“With the [IPC] season just ending less than a month ago I don’t think anybody’s really decided yet.
“We’d be equally excited to run a LMP3 in WeatherTech also. We just haven’t had anybody step up to do that yet.”