Following the news of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports being close to confirming IMSA’s first full-time LMP2 entry for 2019, Brent O’Neill is confident his No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2 will be there to challenge for the newly-established Pro-Am championship as the second season-long entry.
Figuring out how it will happen, though, and which drivers and sponsors will make it possible, has turned the final weeks of the year into a rather fraught situation with the first official test — the January 4-6 Roar Before The 24 — at Daytona arriving rather soon.
“I’m pretty confident we’ll get there; I have to work through a couple of things yet, but I’m confident we’ll be there for the full season,” O’Neill told RACER.
The recent decision by the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to cleave two street course rounds from the LMP2 calendar should help PR1/Mathiasen and Performance Tech to meet their budgetary needs. But the change also requires some late efforts to gauge interest from drivers and sponsors in that cut-down schedule, not to mention a recalculation of the total cost to race for those parties.
O’Neill is also awaiting to learn if the cost of an engine lease from England’s Gibson Technologies — all with the heavy downsizing in car count and fewer races in mind — might increase due to less income headed to the spec 4.5-liter V8 engine supplier.
“Having engines guys and spare engines over here, for just two cars, is a question,” he said. “[PR1/Mathiasen co-owner] Bobby [Oergel] and I will be here ready to go, but will our leases go up because there’s only two of us, instead of five of us like last year to spread the costs? We don’t know. So it’s stuff like that we need to iron out before knowing exactly what we can commit to.”