Connect with us


American Teen Pierson Becomes Youngest-Ever WEC Winner

16-year-old Josh Pierson wins on world championship debut with United Autosports…

Josh Pierson re-wrote the FIA World Endurance Championship record books by becoming the youngest-ever winner at the age of 16 years, 1 month and 4 days old in Friday’s season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring.

The American teenager, in his world championship debut, teamed with Paul di Resta and Oliver Jarvis for LMP2 class honors in the No. 23 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson.

It came in only Pierson’s fourth LMP2 race following outings in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona — at the age of 15 — as well as two Asian Le Mans Series races at Yas Maria Circuit last month, which he was also victorious at.

“It’s a huge deal,” Pierson told Sportscar365. “To me it means a lot.

“The team did a fantastic job. Paul handed me the car and when it was in a great state in the race. Oliver did his job and got in. 

“Overall I think we did fantastic as a team. We had a fantastic car and I couldn’t be happier with how things went.”

Di Resta credited Pierson’s triple stint through the middle portion of the race as “key” to class victory.

“From our side it was a great race,” Pierson said. “Paul handed me the car in second place and from there it was sticking to the strategy we had in mind, which was a triple stint. 

“It was pretty difficult, especially in the late stage of the last stint on the tire. 

“I felt like we were struggling with the front-end on that tire. But overall the car handled amazing and the tires held up for the entirety of the stint, which was great.

“From my side, I think it’s a great way to start the year and I’m really looking forward to Spa.”

Jarvis said the race’s first red flag — for Jose Maria Lopez’s massive accident in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, brought both JOTA and Team WRT Orecas “back into play” during the second half of the race.

“The red flag had a huge influence on the race,” Jarvis said. “Up until the first red we built up a reasonable lead.

“We were in quite a commanding position. There were probably only two or three cars within 30 seconds.

“That [first] red flag brought the JOTAs and the WRTs back into play. It made the rest of the race much more difficult. 

“Paul and Josh did an amazing job all weekend. For Josh to come here — 16 years of age — and handle the pressure the way he has.

“Not just that but to show the speed he has was really impressive.”

Pierson is one of 21 drivers scheduled to pull double-duty between Friday’s WEC season opener and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where he will share a PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports LMP2 entry with Jonathan Bomarito and Steven Thomas.

He said: “For me it will be important to get something to eat now, get rested up and then I have a lot of work to do to win the 12-hour.”

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

Click to comment

More in FIA WEC