4-5 January 2019, first race of the year, first round of the IMSA Prototype Challenge on Daytona International Speedway track, first pole position and first victory for Ligier. The #4 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 took the victory for the second year in a row. The #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P3 claimed third position. The other Ligier teams monopolised the rest of the top 9. Ligier is off to a flying start for the 50th anniversary of the make.
Wet track and rain for the qualifying. The #51 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with Garett Grist behind the wheel took pole. He set the best lap in 2:00.30. Two seconds faster than the #10 Norma M30 of Robillard Racing which set the second best lap. The #25 Ligier JS P3 of Conquest Racing made a great comeback to competition by clinching the fourth best lap.
The sun came back. The conditions were ideal for the first race of the season. The #51 Ligier JS P3 that started from pole with Garett Grist led the first forty minutes of the race until the #23 Alianza / Gilbert Motorsports Norma M30 took over.
First yellow flag following the #40 Polestar Motor Racing Ligier JS P3 having some issues. The #40 was later forced to retire. The race quickly resumed. Two hours to go. The teams started to pit to refuel and change drivers. The leading cars did not stop right away and the battle for the first place between the #51 Ligier JS P3 and the #23 Norma M30 continued.
The #2 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 went off. Second yellow flag. At the restart, there were one hour fifty-four minutes of racing left. The #25 Conquest Racing Ligier JS P3 in sixth position spun.
The leading cars pitted. In their restart lap, both the #23 Norma M30 and the #51 Ligier JS P3 spun. The #51 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 lost one lap and fell to thirteenth.
The #4 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 that had started from the back of the grid in sixteenth position with the Niel Alberico and Leo Lamelas duo had fought its way through the field and took the lead. One hour thirty minutes to go. The #75 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 is third, behind the #47 Forty 7 Motorsports Norma M30. The #75 Ligier JS P3 was closely tailed by the #70 P1 Motorsports Ligier JS P3 until it overtook it. The #33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 was fifth.
The #75 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 spun and the #86 One Motorsports Ligier JS P3 suffered from a puncture.
Only one hour of racing left. The leading #4 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 pitted for a last refuel. Neil Alberico stayed at the wheel. The #33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 was third before it also pitted.
After the pit stop, the #4 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 rejoined in fifth place. It moved quickly to third. Fifty-one minutes to go. The #4 Ligier JS P3 was second and then took top spot.
Still forty minutes to go. The #10 Robillard Racing Norma M30 suddenly lost a wheel. Final yellow flag of the race. The #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P3 was third, followed by the #70 P1 Motorsports Ligier JS P3 and the #64 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3. At the restart, there were thirty-four minutes of racing left. Among the intense traffic, the #51 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 was hit by another and went off.
Chequered flag. Neil Alberico at the wheel of the #4 Ansa Motorsports Ligier JS P3 made a remarquable double stint and kept the lead until the end of the race. The #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P3 with the trio of Bruce Hamilton, Tonis Kasemets and Scott Maxwell finished third, behind the #47 Norma M30. The #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P3 set the quickest time in race. The rest of the top 9 was monopolised by Ligiers:
4 – The #11 Simraceway Motorsport Ligier JS P3 with Maurice Smith and Nico Rondet
5 – The #75 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with Cameron Cassels and James French
6 – The #64 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with Naveen Rao and Alex Barron
7 – The #19 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with Bradley Baker, Kyle Masson and Dean Baker
8 – The P1 Motorsports #70 Ligier JS P3 with Joel Janco and Jonatan Jorge.
Rendezvous for the second round of the season on 13-16 March on the Sebring track.