Second Win of the Season, First Ever Sebring Win
It was Performance Tech Motorsports’second win of the season but first win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at their home track, Sebring International Raceway.
Monumental moments seem to be compounding under the Performance Tech tent for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. After a first time win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona Performance Tech took home a first-time win at the Twelve Hours of Sebring with James French, 24, Patricio O’Ward, 17, and Kyle Masson, 19, in the Prototype Challenge class.
French qualified the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 in second place but he didn’t keep his starting position for long. French took the lead within the first hour of the 12-hour race and the team never looked back. Performance Tech led the PC class through each of the 12 hours and one lap over the second-place finisher. The team placed fifth overall.
The team’s domination of the race spilled over into the Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Cup. They hold a perfect record thus far in the cup chase. Performance Tech leads the No. 26 Bar 1 Motorsports entry by 10 points with 30 points overall.
This marks Performance Tech’s third win in endurance racing the final Baltimore Grand Prix in 2013 and this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona are the previous two. The team’s highest finish at Sebring prior to this race was a second-place finish in 2013. In 2016, the team finished fourth in the PC class.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill focused on running his race and never allowed the No. 38’s lead to give him a false sense of security on track. He stuck to his strategy just as if he was fighting for the lead.
“They’re three just great drivers,” O’Neill said. “They all could have big careers in the racing industry. It was pretty exciting for all of us, we had a great time. A little bit of a battle there at the end we lost power steering with about 45 minutes left in the race. James never missed a beat, he kept peddling the car and brought it home. It was a good race. Starworks kept us honest all day, they chased us for the entire 12 hours. Here we swept the Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Cup again just like in Daytona. It feels pretty good to be the winner here in Sebring.”
“It feels awesome to be here,” French said. “We’ve been at this for a long time now. It’s my third season with them and we’ve had our fair share of troubles and challenges. We went through a lot of tough races where we thought we’d be up top but didn’t quite make it. To have won the two biggest races you’d ever want to win in this series back to back is really special. It’s a great way to start the championship, we have pretty much all the points you could possibly have at this point. It’s awesome, an amazing job by everyone on the team. Not one mistakes have been made in either of these two races so far. Awesome job by Pato and Kyle. They’re driving is way beyond their years.”
“I think it’s something really special to have in your career,” O’Ward said. “To win the Rolex 24 when your 17 and then to win Sebring when your 17. It’s actually really cool to win the last year of an open cockpit car. That’s cool to have that in your resume. And I’m looking forward to next year I want too, I want to do it all again. I want to, hopefully, win the Rolex again and, hopefully, win Sebring again. Every race is hard, we just need to replicate the work we’ve done over the last couple of weeks. The team did their job, I did my job and James and Kyle did their job. The team put a lot of work into the car and into us. I’m very satisfied.”
“It’s awesome to win the 36 hours of Florida, especially since they’re all local tracks to me,” Masson said. “These are the most important races of the season in my perspective when it comes to what I should be focusing on. To come out with all of the points at the end of each race and to dominate both of them was just truly unbelievable. It was awesome. The team did a great job. James kicked ass at qualifying both at Daytona and here at Sebring. Pato is just really quick, really good. It’s impressive what we’ve put together and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
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