As the official test sessions for the season begin at Daytona International Speedway this week, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) has announced plans for three entries into the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ladder series will take the team to six tracks throughout the season, starting with Daytona International Speedway for the Roar Before the 24 weekend.
Both former teammates at ESM, Max Hanratty and Michael Wheldon will share the driving duties for the No. 3 Ligier JS P3 in the standard two driver format for the 75 minute races. Lance Willsey will be the sole driver for the No. 33, and Kris Wilson and Daniel Morad will participate in the Daytona International Raceway event as a one off in the No. 30.
Max Hanratty first joined Extreme Speed Motorsports Prototype Lites effort in 2016 and finished fifth in the overall championship. In 2017, he progressed to the European Le Mans Series, gaining valuable experience in the Ligier JS LMP3. He also competed in his first Twelve Hours of Sebring in the Prototype Challenge class, finishing sixth overall and second in class.
“I’m excited to be back with ESM for the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge season,” said Hanratty. “We have built a strong relationship over the years, and I’m looking forward to continuing that, starting at Daytona. Michael is very quick, and I’m confident we will complement each other well in the car and be competitive out of the gate. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Scott Sharp for the opportunity and for making all this possible.
Having also raced with ESM in 2016, where he earned one win and finished third in the IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites Championship, Michael Wheldon returns to the team for another year of competition. Wheldon is no stranger to the podium, with several feeder championships under his belt, including the 2013 Pro Formula Mazda West Coast Regional and National championships in 2013, and another Pro Formula Mazda National championship title in 2014.
“I’m very excited to be racing with ESM at Daytona for the first Prototype Challenge race of the year,” said Wheldon. “I’ve always wanted to race at Daytona, and I finally get my chance to experience the high speed banking it’s so famous for. I had a gery good season with ESM back in 2016 for the Lites series. I will be racing with Max, who is a very talented driver, and was a great teammate in 2016. I hope Max and I have a great result for ESM.”
Kris Wright and Daniel Morad will join forces for a one off at the Roar Before the 24 driving the No. 30 Ligier JS P3.
Kris Wright participated in the IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites Championship in 2017, earning six second place finishes in addition to one race win at Watkins Glen International. Wright also competed in the Mazda Road to Indy’s USF2000 series, and quickly advanced to the next step, the Pro Mazda championship. There he earned four top ten finishes and one top five finish.
“I’m really excited to partner up with ESM for a few races in Prototype Challenge this year,” said Wright. “Moving up to the LMP3 car from the MPC car I drove last year should be a bit of a learning experience but an exciting one nonetheless! With such a result driven team and a proven team, I’m sure I will learn a lot! Let’s get 2018 rolling!”
Morad, a young but accomplished racer, has already celebrated success at Daytona International Speedway, winning last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GTD class with Alegra Motorsports.
“I’m very excited to start off the 2018 season racing with ESM,” said Morad. “Kris had great performances last season, so I’m looking forward to working with him this weekend. Last year I left Daytona with a fancy new watch, so I hope I can put in another strong performance to help the team leave with a top result.”
Source. KBru Communications