JDC-Miller team co-owner John Church is doubling down on IMSA’s Prototype class with a pair of ORECA 07-Gibson V8-powered P2s he plans on entering for the full 2018 season.
The Minnesota-based team owner recently announced the current lineup of Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg in the No.85 P2 will remain intact next season, and with a second ORECA 07 in his possession that had unconfirmed plans, Church says he’s made a commitment to field it at every WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round.
“I filed two premium entries and our plan is to have two full-time entries,” he told RACER. “We’re doing it, and we decided to bet on our success instead of our desire.”
The team’s new chassis, which will run No.84, arrived immediately after Petit Le Mans concluded in early October and has joined the No. 85 in offseason testing at Sebring [below]. Drivers for the second car could be announced around the first of December.
“We did a test last week and that went really well,” Church added. “We’re plugging away on getting guys signed. There’s one that’s pretty close, and another that I don’t think we’re too far away with. I think we’re making good progress.”
Ramping up for the Prototype expansion has seen Church pull from some of its staff spread across Mazda Road To Indy and sports car programs while seeking new employees for the WeatherTech Championship program.
“We’re going to do a little of both,” he said. “There’s a lot of discussion with people for various positions and have a good idea of what we want. It’s just a matter of finishing up who’s going to be assigned to the ORECAs.”
Coming off a debut Prototype season where the No. 85 ‘Banana Boat’ was the most consistent privateer threat to the factory DPis, Church is confident the JDC-Miller team will be able to fight for podiums and wins as the class prepares to double in size.
“At this point, we’re certainly confident the non-DPi cars are going to be competitive,” he said. “From my perspective, IMSA did a great job last season on BoP. I don’t have a lot to complain about there, nor should anybody else. It’s a pretty good formula right now. I don’t see a lot of drama, and have faith the BoP is going to stay reasonable and fair.
“From that standpoint, we’re optimistic we’ll be able to be competitive. The field is going to be ultra-competitive, and I think we’ll have 18 cars on the grid most weekends. That’s why we’re here – the competition.”