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15-Year-Old Pierson Could Make IMSA LMP2 Outings

USF2000 star Josh Pierson to potentially make LMP2 race debut with PR1/Mathiasen later this year…

Photo: United Autosports

Newly signed United Autosports driver Josh Pierson could make his LMP2 race debut in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship later this year, should a deal be reached with IMSA to allow the 15-year-old to race.

The USF2000 star, who is set for a full-season FIA World Endurance Championship campaign with the Anglo-American team in 2022, has tested with current IMSA LMP2 points leading outfit PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports on multiple occasions ahead of an potential run in the team’s second Oreca 07 Gibson later this year.

The holdup currently lies with IMSA, which does not allow anyone under the age 16 to race in its sanctioned series.

Sportscar365 understands that PR1/Mathiasen team principal Bobby Oergel has been working with the sanctioning body to try and find a compromise.

“The age requirement with IMSA… We’re trying to get a license and hopefully do some racing with IMSA. That would be just a fantastic experience before [WEC in 2022],” Pierson told Sportscar365.

“We’re really trying to see if we can set that up.

“I’m not sure where that stands at the moment. We’re trying to do some racing there. It just depends on when I get the license and how it all works out.

“Hopefully it works out and we will be able to do some racing with IMSA.”

Pierson, who turns 16 in February, said he could supplement his full WEC campaign with United with additional races in the WeatherTech Championship in 2022.

“I believe we want to do some IMSA races next year,” he said. “Whether that’s the full season or just a couple of races, I don’t know.”

He is also scheduled to undertake an “intensive” testing program with United in the coming months ahead of his WEC debut in next year’s expected season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring in March.

“I don’t currently know the schedule,” Pierson said. “I know we are planning to do a lot of testing. I know it’s going to be a pretty extensive testing program to really get the testing experience in. 

“Being so young and this being such a fast car it’s not every day that you get a chance to drive one.

“We are going to be pushing to get as many laps as we can before the season starts and as much experience as we can.

“That will be a little in the States but a lot of it is going to be in Europe with United.”

Simpson Helped Steer Pierson to LMP2 in Record-Breaking Attempt

Pierson came into the LMP2 fold per the recommendation of his driving coach, Stephen Simpson, who along with Pierson’s father formulated the plan for him to break Matt McMurry’s record of becoming the youngest starter at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

McMurry made his Le Mans debut at 16 years, 6 months and 21 days old, with Pierson set to beat that mark by some two months in next year’s race.

“It was a thought that came up at St. Pete last year,” Pierson explained. “That’s when Stephen brought it up to me. It was a conversation with my dad.

“I was at the drivers’ meeting at St. Pete and they were talking. He said, ‘We can go do Le Mans.’

“[Stephen] thought my driving style was good for the car. He’s like, ‘You can be the youngest starter at Le Mans. I think it would get publicity, it would be interesting.’ And that led to this whole thing.”

Pierson credited Simpson for helping connect him with United team co-owner/managing director Richard Dean to make the deal happen.

“I was definitely on the formula car path for most of my life,” he said. “[Stephen] was the one that actually brought the idea.

“That led to testing in the States with PR1/Mathiasen and that led to a test at the Red Bull Ring with United. Then from there the relationship kicked off.

“I got a very lovely email from Richard that said we want you to drive for us. Then I was like, ‘This is perfect. It’s the World Endurance Championship. This will be the perfect opportunity for me to get my name out there and see what I can do.’

“It wasn’t really on the radar. It’s always something I wanted to do. I think at some point in my career I would have been here. But I think it just was one of those thing that popped up.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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