Launched in 2017 by Juan “JC” Perez, the sports car racing team has enjoyed a tremendously successful first season of competition in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series (IPC) and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series, garnering both a driver and a team championship.
But behind the development and determination in 2017 was a singular goal that has been the primary focus for Perez and team manager Alberto Pena – The Rolex 24 At Daytona.
And as the pinnacle of endurance sports car competition looms just on the horizon, P1 Motorsports will realize its dream and field a single-car effort in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the four North American Endurance Cup races in 2018. Piloting the No. 71 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT Daytona (GTD) class will be a combination of IPC drivers Kenton Koch and Robby Foley, as well as Perez and team newcomer Loris Spinelli.
“We came into the 2017 racing season with one goal on our mind,” said Pena. “Get the team and JC up to speed to run Daytona. We’ve been planning this for over a year, and it’s been a group effort since day one.”
After careful deliberation and extensive research, the team selected the Mercedes-AMG GT3 based on driver input. The powerful AMG-built race car is powered by a 6.3-litre V8 engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox that secured several class wins in its first season of IMSA competition in 2017.
“We chose the Mercedes after speaking with multiple drivers that are at their highest level of driving,” said Perez. “We asked those who have driven most of the GT3 cars out there, and we think we made a very educated decision and are very happy with the path our program has taken so far.”
The team has been on a very steep learning curve since their debut with IMSA in 2017. And despite being a young team, Perez and Pena are ready to tackle one of the most historic sports car races around the globe.
“We brought Kenton onboard from our LMP3 program, who has won the 24 Hours before,” said Perez. “Combined with Robby and Loris and myself, we think we have a great program to be competitive in the coming season.
“I raced with Loris, who is a two-time Lamborghini Super Trofeo European Champion at the World Finals at Imola, and think he will be a formidable competitor here in the States and I am looking forward to co-driving with him.”
“The Rolex 24 At Daytona will be a fantastic experience for me,” said Spinelli, who was also selected to participate in the Lamborghini Squadra Corse Young Drivers Program.
“I did the 24 Hours of Spa in 2016 and the atmosphere was exciting, I’m sure Daytona will be the same, and probably better. I’m always happy to run in the USA, and I need to thank P1 Motorsport and JC Perez for this opportunity. Since I met him and all the team I felt good about my decision and I’m really grateful to be a part of this effort. I’ll try to do my best to help the team. I want to improve myself day-by-day and this is a really big chance. Can’t wait to get started.”
Koch, who has extensive IMSA experience at such a young age, including his victory at Daytona in 2016 in a prototype, is looking forward to running a GTD effort.
“I am super excited to be running with P1 [Motorsports] again in 2018,” he said. “This time in GTD as well as LMP3. We have had great history together and really think we can do well. The team has shown tremendous growth and performance in only its first year of operation. I’m truly honored to be a part of this team as it continues to grow.
“Last time I raced the 24 was in LMPC, and we were lucky enough to win. With P1, I’m more than confident we will have a shot, especially with the driver line up we have.”
Foley, who was new to IMSA competition in 2017 has already shown impressive talent in the LMP3 car, even on a limited schedule, which has led to his continuing relationship with the team and the chance to drive the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I’m really excited for my GTD debut at the Rolex 24 and to be able to do it with P1 Motorsports is a really a special opportunity,” said Foley. “Since joining the team in the middle of last year there has always been a strong family atmosphere and camaraderie and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
“Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching this race, and dreaming about one day driving in it. I’d trick my mom into thinking I was going to bed, but I’d actually stay up through the night watching. To now have the chance to fulfill that dream is something I’m very grateful to JC and the entire team for. I’ll definitely have to pinch myself on the grid before the start.”
The heart of the P1 Motorsports family, Perez has much to be proud of heading into his second season of competition.
“This has been an amazing journey for me,” he said. “I have learned so much this year and we are about to take on the hardest race in the U.S. I have been training all year long, and know I can hold my own with any driver in that field. Daytona is the fulfillment of one my lifelong dreams and I just didn’t want to pay for seat. I wanted to own a team and run it and make my mark. A lot of people thought I was crazy and that I would fail, but like everything in my life, I have proven everyone wrong so far. My team has been hand-picked from the best of the business and this year we showed what we are made of in IMSA Prototype Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
“I can’t thank my hard-working crew enough for putting everything into this program and all of our racing customers that have trusted us with their dreams. Without them we wouldn’t be able to be here, and I am truly blessed with having such amazing customers.”
P1 Motorsports will have a busy weekend at the upcoming Roar Before the Rolex 24, with a three-car effort in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda season opener, as well as testing for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Source. LST Marketing