PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has opted for a Ligier JS P217 for its step up to the Prototype class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
Team co-owner Bobby Oergel confirmed to Sportscar365 on Friday that it will campaign one of the brand-new Onroak Automotive-built LMP2 cars, after having evaluated all four 2017-spec prototype options in recent weeks.
“The interest level has been high and everyone’s been very good with their intentions and the way they want to go after it,” Oergel told Sportscar365. “They’re all pretty hungry. But for us, this is the right choice.
“I think the biggest piece was was [Onroak’s] level of passion and support that was very attractive. It was a trust in the family side of the fence and how deep they’re willing to get in the trench with us.”
Team co-owner Ray Mathiasen added: “The support we’re going to be getting from Ligier was an extremely important factor in the selection process.
“It’s very exciting times for us in racing the last ten-plus years and we’re finally moving up to the top class, which is really special.
“The team has been together for the entire PC campaign. We’ve been competitive every year and won every year. We’re well-equipped to move up to the Prototype class.”
It marks the first sale of a Gibson-engined Ligier for the WeatherTech Championship and the third chassis to be on the grid next year, joining the two Nissan DPi-based Ligiers for Tequila Patron ESM.
The car was unveiled at Spa-Francorchamps last week and has already undergone its first tests in France.
“We’re very honored to have PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport to trust us with the Ligier JS P217 in the U.S. next year,” Onroak Automotive North America CEO Pierre Nicolet said.
“It will be very important for us to demonstrate our service and support to them, and for the rest of the potential teams that want to run the car in the next years.
“We’ll make sure to put in place the same support service as in Europe, even just for one team in P2. We’ll be sure they have everything they need to be successful, as they currently are in PC.
“Bobby and Ray are men of their word and it’s been very intense work from day one.
“They will have more to announce for their program in the next few weeks, but we’re very excited to start this partnership with them in the U.S.”
Oergel said the team will begin testing with Onroak’s development chassis in early November, prior to taking delivery of its own car on Dec. 1.
Its driver lineup, meanwhile, is still being finalized, with Oergel expecting to “test” a few different scenarios in the coming weeks.