BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2017) – Performance Tech Motorsports is the 2017 Prototype Challenge Class Champion of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.
The team’s first championship win overshadowed a grueling day and third-place finish at Road Atlanta for the 20th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans. A season’s worth of successes accompanies the No. 38 NeuroSpine Institute PC into retirement.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill was nearing a season’s sweep with seven straight wins, the longest win streak in IMSA history, before the No. 13 Prototype of Rebellion Racing cut the dream short. The prototype did not see Kyle Masson exiting pit lane as it too made a dash to pit out. The contact ended Rebellion’s day, but the Performance Tech crew valiantly put the No. 38 back in working order.
Masson was unshaken by the incident. When called upon he hopped back into the No. 38 and completed his stint. He added Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Cup Champion to his title collection. As the endurance driver for Performance Tech, he too will take a bow when the PC Championship trophy is awarded. He also collected MPC class champion in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series.
The No. 38 entered the race in third, multiple laps behind the leader. Patricio O’Ward took over for Masson after he finished his final stint. O’Ward did what he does best, go fast. He put his head down and turned consistent laps, keeping care of the cars fine condition in an effort to gain back lost ground. O’Ward set the fastest lap in each of the eight PC races this year, an IMSA record. O’Ward also became the second youngest driver to ever win the Rolex 24 At Daytona this year.
O’Ward then handed the car over to French who completed his last stint in the car he has spent four years developing. French has been with Performance Tech since 2014 and has since become a qualifying hot shoe and professional driver known for clean racing. French took home seven TOTAL Pole Awards this year, another record breaker for IMSA. He will collect the overall TOTAL Pole Award at the end of season banquet as well as the Continental Tire ExtremeSpirit Award.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill is used to a hard-fought battle. He’s done it for over three decades. He’s won races, championships and back-to-back titles. A third-place finish at the 20th running of Petit Le Mans won’t be the highlight of his career, and the championship may just be another notch in his belt, albeit one he’s proud to carry. But, as he often says, winning is just what Performance Tech does. Winning is what Performance Tech did in the 2017 season.
“We’ve had a great year, and it’s a shame we got taken out the way we did. But the guys battled back just like we always did in the past,” O’Neill said. “They got the cars fixed and out there. We actually got five laps back once we were out on track with only three hours left in the race. You hate to end it like that, but that’s racing. You can’t control what other people do to you. We’re a little disappointed with it but it overall it was a good year. We ended the season on track and made it to the checkered flag. The guys all did terrific. The crew was perfect; they reacted quickly to the incident. Kyle, James and Pato all did an awesome job. We’re happy, we won the championship and we’re finishing on top. Now we can say goodbye to the PC car.”
Performance Tech Motorsports will go into the offseason with a significant to-do list for the 2018 season. The team is finalizing plans and laying the groundwork for its next step in racing. No date has been set for the unveiling of the program.