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AO Racing “Working Through” WEC, IMSA Clashes

Gunnar Jeannette on AO Racing’s WEC expansion in partnership with Team Project 1…

Photo: AO Racing

AO Racing has yet to fully decide how it will handle the two date clashes between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship according to the team’s director of motorsport Gunnar Jeannette.

The newly formed organization, which is set for its Rolex 24 at Daytona debut this weekend, has secured full season entries in both series, running in the WeatherTech Championship GTD class with a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Seb Priaulx and PJ Hyett, with Hyett joining Jeannette and a third, two-be-announced driver in a Team Project 1-run Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the WEC’s GTE-Am category.

Date clashes between the WeatherTech Championship race at Long Beach and second round of the WEC season in Portimao in mid-April, as well as the events at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Monza, respectively, in early July have left Jeannette still working out details on how they’ll tackle those weekends.

Out of the full driving squad, only Bronze-rated Hyett is scheduled to contest both series full-time.

“There’s a couple of clashes that we’re still sort of working through exactly how we can manage that,” Jeannette told Sportscar365.

“Long Beach and Portimao are a day apart but it’s quite a big distance. That’s obviously there. Monza and Mosport is a bigger clash as the races are on the same day. That one is going to be a little harder.

“We really want to get PJ as much experience as possible in the WEC prior to Le Mans as we want to have as good of a Le Mans as possible. We’ll have to see how it goes.”

Its WEC arrangement with Project 1 builds off last year’s season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain, where Jeannette and Hyett finished scored a runner-up class finish with the German squad in Hyett’s world championship debut.

“Our partnership with Project 1, we’ve enjoyed working with them, not only in Bahrain, but when we got the RSR [for historic racing],” Jeannette said. “Axel [Funke, team principal] and those guys have helped us a huge amount with that.

“Just working with them in general has been absolutely great. To be able to partner with them for the last season of GTE-Am and to race the RSR at Le Mans is just absolutely amazing.”

Jeannette said the chance to drive the mid-engined Porsche GTE car in its final year of professional competition was a major driving force behind committing to the WEC program.

“Looking at eras of motorsport where GTE, both Pro and Am evolved to, but specifically on the Porsche side of things, a mid-engined 911…” Jeannette said with a smile.

“Mid-engined 911s: there are very few that have been produced and raced by the factory.

“To be able to be a part of one of those eras… I was very fortunate to get to race the GT1 in period here at Daytona and a couple of other races. The RSR is just an awesome car.”

Project 1 will focus its WEC efforts entirely on the AO Racing entry, as the team’s second GTE-Am entry request was denied amid a bumper 38-car full season entry list that was released earlier this month.

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

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