Performance Tech Motorsports opted to retire from the Motul Pole Award 100 after a weekend of success.
The No. 38 Ligier JS P320 was put to the test at the ROAR Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway with three days of practice around the 3.56-mile, 12 turn track, resulting in a fifth place qualifying position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team focused on acclimating to the new car as well as new drivers in preparation for the twice-around-the-clock event, Jan. 30-31.
“We have to remember this was first and foremost a test weekend,” Team Principal Brent O’Neill said. “The big show is next week, these past three days were really just for the guys to get to know one another, the car and how the team functions. I didn’t want them out there running the fastest laps, I wanted them to focus on all of the little details that will add up to a flying lap later on.”
The team welcomed Cameron Cassels and Rasmus Lindh back as well as introducing Mateo Llarena and Ayrton Ori to the Ligier JS P320. The quartet meshed immediately allowing them to put all of their focus on car setup. Their hard work paid off as Lindh qualified second for the Motul Pole Award 100, the qualifying race for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
As the start of the race grew near weather conditions took a rapid turn bringing in pouring rain, soaking the entirety of the course. The green flag flew for the first time in the 2021 season with mass carnage following shortly thereafter. After the second full course caution in 15-minutes O’Neill decided to park the No. 38 in fifth place in order to completely preserve its integrity for next week’s event.
“It was an absolute wreck fest out there,” O’Neill said. “People were driving like this was the last hour of a 24-hour race, not the qualifying event. Rasmus was being really smart and had worked his way up to first when I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. We need to be at the top of our game for next weekend, any damage would be a big setback. A few of our competitors followed suit and I think we all will be much better off next weekend when we go for the watch.”
The team will remain in Daytona Beach through the next week in preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 30-31. This time will be spent fine tuning the car, running through practice pit stops and driver changes, and combing through data.
Mateo Llarena, Driver of the No. 38 Ligier JS P320
“One really good thing for me was I was able to have a test with the team at Sebring in December,” Llarena said. “This really let me learn the car and get to know the team. This opportunity is really so special and everything went really well so I’m feeling good. We’re getting better each session and I am looking forward to the race. I think the night portion of the race will be especially exciting.”
Ayrton Ori, Driver of the No. 38 Ligier JS P320
“I feel like I’m getting along with my co-drivers really well and am developing in the car,” Ori said. “The most surprising part of the car is the downforce. You look at the car and it’s so big, then you get into the bus stop and think it won’t make it but then it does. I don’t think there’s any particular part of the race I’m most looking forward too, honestly I’m just super excited to be racing in it.”
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 38 Ligier JS P320
“This came together kind of last minute, but the Performance Tech guys did what they do and put together a really good car quickly,” Cassels said. “They had to convert it to the new car specs, get the crew together and get it set up which they did a great job of. Overall, us drivers are getting on well, there’s no issues there which is good. It’s a bit sad to not be out there right now racing, but it was definitely the right choice. There’s limited spare parts for these cars and limited turnaround time so being ready for the 24 is much more important.”
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports