Sebastian Saavedra and Will Owen took the first practice session to experience the four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for their very first times. All three drivers got up to speed before Jose Gutierrez lead the team into qualifying. The #52 ORECA 07 showed its speed but Gutierrez had a spin that kept him from executing his flying lap and qualified 13th. A penalty sent another car to the back of the grid, allowing Gutierrez to start the 21st annual Motul Petit Le Mans in 12th place.
Gutierrez took advantage of a clean start and put the #52 AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports machine in the top eight where the team remained for the majority of the race. Saavedra and Owen completed multiple stints as well and were consistently competitive with the rest of the field. A problem with a pit stop lost a bit of time, but the crew of AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports sorted everything out and maintained a solid race strategy. In the 8th hour of the 10-hour race, Owen went wide in Turn 1 and made slight contact with the tire wall. The damage to the car was enough to keep AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports from finishing the race. Overall, the event was a very positive experience for everyone involved and AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ended the season with a competitive car and talented driver line-up.
Driver – Sebastian Saavedra
“It was an amazing weekend at Petit Le Mans. It was honestly one of the most amazing events I have been a part of. The crazy and cool fans packed the whole venue and it was really cool meeting everyone. I’m very thankful and happy for the whole AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports team even though we had an unfortunate end result. We showed a great pace and a great mentality to keep evolving the ORECA LMP2. I had a really strong six and a half stints and felt good about giving my teammates a push. We had a solid line up that showed a lot of great potential to build from. Overall I’m incredibly thankful to the whole team and IMSA and everyone who made this a reality. I’m looking forward to what is next to come.”
Driver – Will Owen
“Petit Le Mans was a very promising weekend for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and myself that ended in sadness. The AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA was very competitive especially considering it was only the team’s second weekend racing the car. Personally, this was one of my best weekends in racing up until the point where I crashed in Turn 1 late in the race at night. I am very sorry to the team who was relying on me to bring the race to a close. Making this mistake is part of the challenge of becoming a professional driver, and as difficult as it is I will learn from it. Road Atlanta is definitely on the top of my list for favorite tracks; I can’t wait to return and conquer it once and for all.”
Driver – Jose Gutierrez
“It was a very high and low weekend. Qualifying wasn‘t the best. The race was going very positive and in one of my stints I went up to 6th place and the team was doing awesome. At night, my teammate was in the car and hit a little bit of marble in Turn 1 and the car didn’t turn and hit the barrier and we needed to retire. Overall it was still a great experience and I will never forget it.”
Source. AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports