After an insightful three days of testing at Daytona twenty days ago, AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports returns to Florida for the 56th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and their first race of the year. Gustavo Yacaman, Sebastian Saavedra, Roberto Gonzalez and Nick Boulle have all arrived and are prepared to get in their #52 Ligier JS P217 and compete for the first checkered flag of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona marks the opening of the 2018-racing season around the world. Drivers from any and every championship flock at the chance to put the Rolex 24 notch in their racing belts, which makes the race one of the most unique on the calendar. Top drivers from F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and Formula E will be amongst the contenders for the top step on the podium on January 27th.
To get that checkered flag, AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports must continue tuning their set up and new 2018 aerodynamic package of the Onroak built Ligier JS P217 as well as dial in the drivers with the car during two practice sessions on Thursday before qualifying on the same day from 4:45-5 pm EST. One more hour and a half practice session will run after qualifying from 6:30-8 pm EST. Friday will be heavier with the off-track duties for the drivers, but they will still have a final chance to make the #52 their office for the weekend and adjust those last minute tweaks with a practice session from 9:40-10:40 am. The green flag will wave for the fifty entries of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season opener at 2:40 pm EST with a fireworks show at 11 pm EST as the cars make their way through the night. The final laps will be counted and the checkered flag will call the close of the Rolex 24 at Daytona at 2:40 pm EST on Sunday.
Sebastian Saavedra: Driver
“I’m ready and excited for what’s coming this weekend. Since the roar, we’ve been working hard so we can start on Thursday with the right momentum. It has been an important week for the whole team and everyone including the drivers, engineers, and crew are ready to take on this challenge. I can’t wait to get in the car. We are waiting to see what will happen with the balance of performance from the series because obviously the DPI’s have shown to be quite a bit quicker than the P2’s. It’s all a part of what makes the series so exciting!”
Roberto Gonzalez: Driver
“The time has finally arrived and the season is about to start with the most important race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. We’ve all driven the car now and we feel great and there’s a strong chemistry between the drivers and Gary Peterson, Bobby Oergel, and the rest of the team. We still need to keep working on the car. We made some positive changes at the roar and I think if we keep moving in the right direction we should be in good shape for the weekend.”
Gustavo Yacaman: Driver
“I’m completely ready and eager to get the Daytona weekend started. It’s always complicated to begin the first race of the year with the biggest event, and there’s still a lot of things that we need to learn together since we are all new to the team. We’ve improved a lot since the first test and I think that will show this weekend. We will keep working hard. Thursday will be a busy day, but I’m feeling very confident that we will be quite strong.”
Nick Boulle: Driver
“The waiting game is almost over! I feel more prepared physically than I’ve ever been and I think we are ready to take on Daytona again. I’m still wearing my watch from last year so hopefully, it carries some luck with us into this year!”
Gary Peterson: Team Principal
“As this is the first endurance race that I have been involved in as a team principal, I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. My expectations for the team would be at least finish in the top ten. With some luck, if we stay out of the garage, we should have a decent finish for this newly formed partnership between AFS and PR1.”
Bobby Oergel: Team Principal
“I’m really looking forward to the race week getting underway. We’ve all worked so hard in a short time to assemble this program, the roar was a first for the drivers and all of us together. Now we can come back to the same track and get straight to it with a sense of knowing more of what to expect and grow from.”
Source. AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports