The new AR-2 (Ave Riley-2) program, a collaboration between Ave Motorsports and Riley Technologies, has made significant progress in recent months with design and production on schedule and the first team deposits having recently been received for a pair of the new LMP3-class race cars.
The AR-2 is being built specifically for the new LMP3 category and the Ave-Riley collaboration was named one of the five and currently final approved constructors – and the only U.S.-based designer/builder – for the category by the ACO earlier this year.
“We did the preliminary driver fit last Friday,” Ave said. “We are working flat out to be on track by or around the first of the year, being mindful that with a homologated race car we want to be sure we do it right the first time. We are dealing with the timeline as needed to ensure we have the most competitive car possible.”
Riley Technologies, led by Bob and Bill Riley, has been designing championship-winning race cars for decades, including some of the most successful prototype designs in history.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America member and legendary auto racing constructor, Bob Riley, has been leading the design and engineering of the AR-2.
“Tony came in, sat in the cockpit and we worked on some of the final issues to make sure his vision was good out of the greenhouse and start to get into the overall driver fit,” Bill Riley said. “Tony is bigger than the average driver but fit in there with a lot of room so it was pretty encouraging for an initial driver fit.
“We made a wood mock-up of the tub early on in the design process to make sure we had the leg room correct and the seat angle correct, but this was the first time we had him sit in the real car to make sure we had some of the basic parameters done. It went well.”
The AR-2 is the latest collaboration between top constructors Ave Motorsports and Riley Technologies, both based in the Charlotte, N.C. area, which have been racing and winning with AR-1 Trans Am cars in the U.S. for several years.
“The synergy between myself and the Rileys goes back over 20 years,” Ave said. “At the time I was merely the driver for them but and as we moved forward we continue to see a set of common methods and practices that have led to a real dominance in Trans Am and a great working relationship with the LMP3 project.”
Ave Motorsports has built 20 AR-1 Trans Am cars over the last few seasons using a Riley design that Ave acquired a few years ago.
In the recently concluded 2015 Trans Am season, Ave Motorsports-built AR-1 chassis were driven to four overall TA-class race wins and took the battle for the season-championship down to the wire in the season-ending race at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month.
The AR-2 will make its race debut in 2016 but missing this year’s first seasons of international competition in Europe and Asia for the LMP3 category is far from a setback for the Ave-Riley camp.
Riley’s successful Daytona Prototype didn’t run its first race until the second season of the category in 2004 but the design went on to dominate the division for more than a decade.
“We’re still fine tuning stuff in design because the longer the car stays in the drawing office the better it typically is when it gets out there,” Bill Riley said. “It helps make it the best car it can be but it’s a bit frustrating because we all want to be on track.
“We know that there’s a lot of people looking at LMP3 cars and with our car not on track right now that hurts us, but we know we’re going to have the best possible car when it is on track.”
The new LMP3 category debuted this year in the ELMS and Asian Le Mans series but the AR-2 is also a competitive and suitable option for several North American series.
These include the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) Super Unlimited class and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) SPO (Super Production Open) division. The AR-2 is also expected to be a popular option as a premium track-day car offering.