Sean Creech Motorsports (SCM) will contest the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a full-season campaign in the LMP3 class, starting with the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Team principal Sean Creech has assembled a program that combines a strong mix of youth, speed and experience—on both sides of the pit wall.
The 2021 IMSA season will be the first for the LMP3 class to be integrated into the top WeatherTech Championship, with a six-round championship that will be preceded by the non-points paying Rolex 24 At Daytona (January 30-31).
Lance Willsey and Joao Barbosa have been signed to share the full-season driving duties on board the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier PS320, with French racer Yann Clairay and British pilot Wayne Boyd slated to race with the team in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. All four drivers have previous experience racing for Sean Creech, with Barbosa having first raced with Creech when he was establishing himself in the U.S. nearly two decades back. Clairay, Boyd, and Willsey have all competed with Creech in IMSA Prototype Challenge.
The move to the top IMSA category marks another progression for Creech, who has built a racing resume that spans the decades and includes Group C, IMSA GTP, WSC, Grand-Am, SRO World Challenge, and IMSA competition. His Jupiter, Florida-based team includes a roster of crew and consultants that have worked with Creech for years.
“I’m happy to have this driver line up—these are all guys that we know and have worked with before, so I think thats going to be a big piece of the puzzle for this race,” said Creech. “There are so many unknowns in any 24-hour race, and with this being the first year for the LMP3s, that is even more true. But we got the car in the beginning of December and have been able to run it a couple of times to learn as much as possible in preparation for the Rolex 24. Despite limited time with the new chassis and engine package, the team has worked relentlessly to be in position to fight for a win on Sunday afternoon.”
The pairing of SCM and four-time Rolex 24 winner Barbosa is one that was years in the making.
“I worked with Sean back when I was racing a Porsche GT2 (for Mike Colucci Racing) and we always kept in touch through the years,” said Barbosa. “Every time we’d catch up, we’d talk about working together as we always had a good relationship. So when I was testing at Daytona last year, we were talking again, but this time everything fell into place! So it’s really exciting for me to be able to get to race for Sean after all these years of talking about it. I want to thank Lance and Sean for having me be part of the program and I’m looking forward to teaming up with Lance. He is passionate and very competitive, and Sean has put some very experienced people in place so this program has all the opportunity to be competitive that you could ask for.”
Willsey has competed in the LMP3 since the class was established in IMSA in 2017. He has competed in over 30 races at Daytona across several series, including 10 Rolex 24 At Daytona starts.
“I’ve raced a GT in the 24 before so I don’t anticipate it being that different in terms of traffic for a multi-class event like this,” said Willsey of the fabled Daytona event. “I’ve known of Joao and his success for many years and when we found out he was available, it was a no brainer to reach out and see if he was interested. Despite the limited testing we’ve had with the new car, his insights and experience have been invaluable to get us going in the right direction to fully understand the car. Having this driver lineup, combined with Sean’s experience and everything that Mark Schomann and Kevin Doran bring this is a great nucleus of people.”
While the 2021 Daytona opener marks the IMSA debut for the new-specification LMP3 Ligier, the platform has one season of competition already in Europe—and Boyd won it. Boyd’s season of experience with the car in competition, combined with the six years Clairay spent as a development driver for Ligier developing the LMP3 as well as the LMP2, will prove critical in of the metrics of success needed in endurance racing.
“I got the opportunity to do it, and I jumped at it,” said Boyd, who netted the 2020 European Le Mans LMP3 championship. “I’ve watched the race for the last four or five years on TV and always thought it looked mega, so big thanks to Lance and Sean for having me. Our lineup is strong so I expect we can challenge for the win. I don’t have a Rolex and I’d quite like one! This will be my first 24 hour race and while I’ve tested at Daytona, this will be my first race so I’m excited to see how it all pans out.”
Clairay won the 2009 Le Mans Series GT1 championship, claiming a class podium at Le Mans on his way to the title. Running for a Creech-managed program, the French racer won in his IMSA Prototype Challenge debut in 2018 and backed that up with a run to second after taking pole in his next IMSA outing for Creech later that year.
“I will use the simulator to prepare for the race,” said Clairay of his Daytona debut. “I think the circuit is interesting, we will need a car that is stable in the braking areas and quick in the last chicane. Having the chance to race in an event like the Rolex 24 is really special. I don’t have much experience in the U.S.; my two races ended with a win and a second place, so I can’t wait to come back!”
The team will also lean on the experience of Kevin Doran, who has won the Rolex 24 five times in roles varying from crew chief, team owner and manufacturer. Doran will put his years of insight and success at Daytona towards the SCM effort as he heads up the engineering effort along with the experienced Mark Schomann.
“As happy as I am with our driver lineup, the guys we’ve got on this team really know what they are doing and have so much experience—a lot of which we’ve gained together in a lot of cases,” said Creech. “Mark (Schomann) has engineered pretty much every kind of race car there is, and having Kevin (Doran) with us is another big boost. It’s kind of full circle, because I worked with him (Doran) back in the 90s so this is great to be working together again. There is a lot of 24 experience—both Le Mans and Daytona- on our team and with a race that you never know what its going to throw at you, that can be critical.”
The 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona will open with the Roar Before the 24 on January 22-24.
Source. Sunday Group