Reigning F3 Americas champion Kyle Kirkwood and Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda titleholder Dakota Dickerson are trading in their championship-winning open-wheel Ligier chassis for a Ligier JS P3 prototype, competing in the inaugural four-hour Michelin IMSA Sportscar Encore at Sebring International Raceway this weekend with ANSA Motorsports in the LMP3 class. Onroak Automotive North America presented the opportunity to the two winners to compete in a Ligier JS P3 after both Kirkwood and Dickerson clinched their respective titles early.
“Both Kyle and Dakota have proven they’re fast in anything they compete in, but most importantly, they are consistent drivers who make smart decisions on the track,” said Onroak Automotive North America General Manager Max Crawford. “We are happy to provide these young, talented drivers the experience in a different Ligier.”
Making his sports car debut, Kirkwood will be paired with 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge Roar before the Rolex 24 winner Roman De Angelis, piloting the No. 13 red, black and white Ligier.
“Sports car racing is something I’ve been interested in for a very long time but my open-wheel schedule always conflicted me from jumping into one,” said Kirkwood. “This opportunity came through a local Florida team, ANSA Motorsports, Ligier and Onroak Automotive. I’m extremely grateful to them for making this a possibility. It’s a strong lineup between the Ligier JS P3, ANSA Motorsports, Roman and me. I can’t wait to kick it off Friday in Sebring.”
While Kirkwood’s sports car career experience will commence this weekend, Dickerson has contested outside single-seater competition multiple times. The San Diego native proved himself as a winning sports car driver by taking first in his class in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, claiming Rookie of the Year in SCCA Cal Club Spec Miata and qualifying third in a Pirelli World Challenge GT3 rookie race for ANSA Motorsports.
Dickerson and his partner, 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge MPC class champion Jon Brownson, will drive the No. 2 Ligier JS P3 outfitted in the ANSA Motorsports signature livery.
“I’m very excited to try out the Ligier JS P3 with ANSA Motorsports,” Dickerson said. “The guys at Ligier always build great cars, and I know the ANSA Motorsports team is one of the best out there. It’ll be really fun working with them again and I’m looking forward to my first endurance race with IMSA.”
With a strong endurance-racing background, embellished by multiple race wins, the ANSA Motorsports team owners stepped up their racing program for inaugural Encore endurance race, fielding three Ligier JS P3 sports cars operated by more than 30 team members composed of drivers, engineers and crew. Ranked fourth in the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge Series, ANSA Motorsports committed to the growth of its racing and driver development program with its recent expansion.
“We are extremely excited to have Kyle and Dakota drive for us this weekend,” said ANSA Motorsports team owner Patrick-Otto Madsen. “The Michelin IMSA Sportscar Encore race is the perfect opportunity to showcase the hard work of our drivers and crew. ANSA is making a monumental effort to prepare and run three Ligier JS P3 prototypes. Without the relentless effort of our team on and off the track, none of this would be possible.”
The weekend will include a promoter test day open to all participants on Friday. The official schedule for Saturday calls for three one-hour practice sessions, with a fourth 30-minute practice planned for Sunday, prior to the 20-minute qualifying sessions. Teams will be required to field a minimum of two drivers per car and a maximum of three. No Platinum-rated drivers will be allowed to compete and no driver lineup may have more than one Gold-rated driver
The broadcast for the IMSA Sportscar Encore race will be available at IMSA.tv on Sunday from 11:50 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.