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PR1/Mathiasen Set for Le Mans Debut with Kelly

IMSA stalwarts heading to France via Patrick Kelly’s auto-invite in LMP2…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports is set to make its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this year with driver Patrick Kelly. 

The California-based team led by Bobby Oergel and co-owner Ray Mathiasen, will field Kelly’s auto-invite awarded by winning the Jim Trueman Award for the best-placed gentleman driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP2 class last year.

Kelly, who also won the season-long IMSA LMP2 drivers’ title, scored four class wins in six races including a sweep of all possible pole positions in the team’s No. 52 Oreca 07 Gibson.

While Kelly’s program beyond Le Mans is still to be defined, Oergel confirmed plans to contest the French endurance classic, in collaboration with a European-based LMP2 team.

“We will do Le Mans with Pat,” Oergel told Sportscar365.

“It’s something we’ve been very excited to dream about and very excited to be able to do it with our core group of family — and Pat is included in that. He’s been with us for a lot of years in preparation for this.

“It’s very exciting. We won’t get another shot other than to go do it, so that’s what we’re going to do. It will be pretty awesome.”

Oergel said the majority of his crew will be making the trip although they will utilize an Oreca chassis from its European partner team.

Sportscar365 understands there had been discussions with at least two teams, with a decision having recently been made but not yet publicly announced.

Kelly, who impressed in his first full season of LMP2 competition last year, is likely to add several other races to his calendar, although will not take part in next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Oergel indicated there is a possibility for some WeatherTech Championship rounds post-Le Mans depending on budget.

“The plan is to hopefully include some other races [with Pat],” he said.

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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