Tom Kimber-Smith will return to the wheel of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Prototype Challenge entry for the remainder of the TUDOR United United SportsCar Championship season, the team confirmed late Monday.
The New York-based Englishman, who teamed with Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich and Andrew Palmer for class victory in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, takes the seat vacated by initial full-season driver Novich, who has elected to step down from that role due to college commitments.
“Like everyone else on the team, I was saddened to hear that Andrew had to make the difficult decision to focus on school this season,” Kimber-Smith said. “He was great to have on the team and I’ll always remember the joy we had spraying each other with champagne on the podium at Daytona.
“Naturally I immediately accepted the team’s offer to drive with Michael once the call came in that the seat was open.
“A lot of people think that these races come down to who has the fastest Gold-rated driver, but in reality, it’s the Silver guys that make the biggest difference, and Michael is one of the best there is.
Kimber-Smith, a three-time Le Mans winner, will team with 2013 ALMS champion Guasch for the 2015 title bid in the Cuttwood-sponsored car, beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring later this month.
“Looking ahead to Sebring, and to the whole year for that matter, there are three to four cars that will be in the mix for the win every race weekend,” Kimber-Smith said.
“I’ve always had to keep an eye on the No. 54, but they’re certainly not the only threat out there.
“It should make for an interesting year and I’m looking forward to helping Michael and everyone else on the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team get more wins this year.”
The addition of Kimber-Smith to the driving strength comes following his impressive outing at Daytona, which was initially a one-off drive.
“Tom did an absolute terrific job for us at Daytona, really putting the pressure on the whole PC field,” team owner Bobby Oergel said. “Watching Tom hunt Colin [Braun] at the end was about the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen at the track.
“When the champagne dried, I had a feeling that we’d see Tom back in PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports colors this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with a whole year of support from everyone on the team.”
While the team has yet to officially announce its third driver for Sebring, it’s believed newly signed Lamborghini factory driver Palmer will return to the team for the second round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.