Rick Ware Racing is looking to complete the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in LMP2 with its Riley Mk. 30 Gibson according to team owner Rick Ware, who has revealed ambitions of a two-car effort in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The veteran NASCAR squad is making its WeatherTech Championship debut at this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 with its Riley LMP2 entry for James Davison, Cody Ware, Mark Kvamme and Johnathan Hoggard.
Davison, Ware and Kvamme are confirmed for the remainder of the Michelin Endurance Cup races, while the team is working to find the funding for the three other LMP2 races at Mid-Ohio, Road America and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to run the entire seven-round season.
“We’ve pre-entered for the whole season,” Rick Ware told Sportscar365. “We’re a full-season entrant and have commitments right now to run the four endurance races.
“We’re trying to find funding and sponsorship for the other three, which I’m hoping we will do.”
Ware said the team’s ex-BAR1 Motorsports Riley has received the ACO-approved ‘Joker’ updates for 2018 that were not all initially in place when the car last ran in the Rolex 24 two years ago.
It includes safety-related updates to the front suspension that has put the car into full compliance, although it still lacks straight-line speed.
“We know going into it that the car produces a bunch of downforce, which is not good here and at Le Mans,” Ware said. “Unless it rains we’re giving up a lot.
“But our goal for the 24-hour weekend is to race the track, finish the 24 hours and learn all we can learn.
“Other than Daytona, where it’s a disadvantage, I believe, chassis-wise it’s proven to be a really good car [with Mazda].
“We’ve been able to spend the time to be able to sort through a lot of things.”
The team has completed three “shakedowns” prior to this weekend, including outings at Virginia International Raceway and Carolina Motorsports Park.
While utilizing crew from its NASCAR operation, Ware said they’ve hired four full-time staff for its IMSA program, which will also include a two-car operation in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America this year.
Two-Car Le Mans Effort Targeted
Ware, meanwhile, has revealed ambitions of running two cars in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with one entry already confirmed through its partnership with Eurointernational.
The Antonio Ferrari-led squad has received a LMP2 auto-invite for winning the 2019 European Le Mans Series LMP3 championship, which RWR plans to utilize with a combination of the two team’s staff.
Kvamme and Cody Ware have been confirmed as drivers for the joint entry, which Rick Ware said is likely to be a Ligier JS P217 Gibson.
Ware said he “doesn’t know” if an Oreca 07 Gibson could be an option for Le Mans due to availability, while the team’s initial plan of running its Riley at Le Mans has been ruled out due to logistics.
“Right now we’re in the process of which car we’re going to get,” Ware said. “We don’t have that answer yet but we’re preparing to acquire a second car for Le Mans.”
RWR’s 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series program, where it fields a pair of Ligier JS P2 Nissans, could net a second invite to the French endurance classic should it win the LMP2 Am class championship.
Ware said they would be prepared to utilize the invite in GTE-Am, per series rules, which allows for the invite’s utilization in either LMP2 or GTE-Am.
“We’re about to make some pretty cool announcements about drivers for Asia and some of those people will bleed over into the Le Mans deal,” he said.
“There’s a chance we would run a GT car as the second car at Le Mans if it happens.”
Should it materialize, Ware said it would likely be with a Porsche 911 RSR or Ferrari 488 GTE.
Asian LMS Effort Helping Team, Cody Ware “Dive Into” Prototype Racing
RWR’s Asian LMS effort, run in conjunction with Eurointernational, is helping the team “dive into” prototype racing for the first time, according to Cody Ware.
The 24-year-old, who has previous Lamborghini Super Trofeo experience, made his prototype racing debut in November’s season-opener in Shanghai and is slated to complete the Asian season, which will see him miss the Daytona 500 as a result.
“We’re making a pretty large commitment to sports car racing,” Cody Ware told Sportscar365. “The Asian series is a pretty cool way to do it because it’s basically our NASCAR off-season.
“It was a good way for me to dive into it without it effecting a lot of the regular season racing. I’ve been in sports car racing in the past but never in downforce cars. It’s been really good.
“Antonio [Ferrari] has taken me testing, I was just over in Italy testing his LMP3 car.
“I’ve been getting a lot of seat time other than the race weekends.”