Ben Waddell will make his IMSA Prototype Challenge debut at Sebring next weekend when he suits up alongside Max Hanratty in the No.3 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P3.
Waddell, who is the son of 1997 Sebring 12 Hour podium finisher Barry, spent last year competing in the F4 U.S. Championship, and said that he is excited about taking this next step.
“For me this is the biggest race I’ve done in my career, so I’m really looking forward to it,” said Waddell, who has been preparing for the race on simulators.
“I’m really excited to be racing as part of the IMSA 12 Hour at Sebring – it is a big event with a great atmosphere. There are a lot of really strong drivers in the Prototype Challenge field, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes and how we stack up. I’ve known Max for a long time, so it was a great fit when this opportunity came up.”
“We are really happy to have Max continue his career development with us at ESM and build on his strong result at Daytona,” said team owner Scott Sharp. “Ben has a great background in open-wheel racing and he should be able to make this transition into endurance racing pretty smoothly. We are excited to have two young hungry drivers in these two and hopefully they can get off to a great start at Sebring.”
Waddell, who lives just outside of Denver, continues to balance his racing with his studies as he works on his marketing and communications degree. The Prototype Challenge format has evolved for 2018 as the two-class field takes on an endurance format, something that Waddell is relishing.
“Coming from open wheel competition, this will be a change for me to have a roof and to do driver changes and to race this long,” said Waddell. “Sebring is a tricky place—not just the bumps, but also how much the temperature changes and how the car reacts to the track. It can be completely different from session to session. But it is important to just get laps in and get comfortable. I’ve got my seat fitting done and now I’m just really excited to be a part of such a big event and hopefully we can score a podium.”