Part of the Family: Wyatt Schwab Joins Performance Tech IMSA PC Lineup
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2017) – Wyatt Schwab joins Performance Tech Motorsports for the 2018 season of IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda with plans to race in the Mazda Prototype Challenge class.
Schwab, from Millersville, Pennsylvania, joins the team after a healthy career in go-karting and time in the Skip Barber Summer Series. Before making the move to cars, Schwab racked up championships including the 2015 Compressed Air Jr. Max Karting Championship and was a three-time winner of the Compressed Air Mini Max Karting Championship. In Skip Barber, he finished in the Top 10 and was awarded a three-day advanced training session.
It was in Skip Barber that Schwab struck a friendship with Kyle Masson, 2017 IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda MPC champion. Though they were fierce competitors on track, away from the track, they found common ground in developing careers out of racing. Schwab credits Masson for the connection to Performance Tech Motorsports.
“I competed in the Skip Barber Summer Series, which was the last Skip Barber series Kyle Masson raced in and that’s where he and I met,” Schwab said. “Kyle told me I should check out the MPC cars and said how they were a lot of fun to drive.
“So, I did some research and visited Performance tech at Petit Le Mans. That’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do this year. It’s funny though, Kyle and I talked about being on the same team. We’d go out to dinner after every Skip Barber race and say how cool it would be and now it’s all coming together.”
As a first-generation racer, Schwab has had his eye set on reaching the upper echelon of racing since he first played with the slot car track his father purchased him. However, it was a trip to the Baltimore Grand Prix American Le Mans Series race where he first got a taste of sports car racing.
“I attended each of the three years the race took place. I became a fan of Le Mans and ALMS after that,” Schwab said. “I was intrigued with all the different cars and classes. I liked that it wasn’t two Mercedes on one team. It was individual teams that had big differences between the way each worked.
“I also got to meet some of the drivers because one of my friends growing up was Spencer Brockman and his dad was Michael Brockman, I called him Uncle Brock. Uncle Brock was Paul Newman’s business partner so he had a lot of connections in the paddock and we met a lot of people. Before then I had always dreamed about F1, which I think every driver does.”
The IMSA Prototype Challenge series will be a step up for Schwab. This will be the first transition into endurance racing with the series new hour and 45-minute race format. At 17-years-old Schwab is more than capable of taking on the challenge of saving tires and managing his race. In fact, he’s looking forward to this new task.
“I’m looking forward to doing endurance races. I love the endurance aspect of racing,” Schwab said. “You get extra time in the car and on track. Car management is something I’m excited to learn about this year. You have to do it at any high level of racing. You have to know when to push the car and when not to push. Not scrub your tires too early. How to keep the car under you so that last stint of the race when you have to push you’re able to. A lot goes into this style of racing mentally it’s not just about physicality.”
Masson tipped off Team Principal Brent O’Neill about the potential of his new teammate. O’Neill trusted his driver’s perspective and began talking with Schwab about a ride for 2018. After the deal was signed, O’Neill and Schwab set a test date. Schwab got a feel for the MPC and O’Neill got a look at another championship contender.
“We’re excited to have Wyatt because he’s a good kid and fit in really easily with the rest of the team,” O’Neill said. “He literally just turned 17 but he works out, is in the perfect shape and takes everything so seriously. He’s already a professional at this. He did a good job at test we just did. We tested for two days, and the kid never put a wheel wrong. He got up to speed really quickly and continued to get faster over the weekend. Our job is just to keep that snowballing through the season.”
Schwab may be new to Performance Tech, but he already has a feel for the team.
“I refer to Performance Tech as a family rather than a team,” Schwab said. “They work very well together. Their head is in the game 110 percent; they’re very professional. They know their stuff, they’ve all worked in racing for years.
“I spent a week under their tent, and I can’t say a single bad thing about any of them or the way they do business. They listen to everyone. It’s a group of adults that I could look up to myself. You don’t feel out of place. You feel welcomed. I come from a big Italian family, so I like that atmosphere. I also have to say thanks to my family for all their support. For helping me to this level. This is the year a lot of changes, so I’m appreciative of all that they have done to help me get here.”
The IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda kicks off with Race One at Daytona International Speedway as the feature race of the Roar Before the 24. Alongside the challenge series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will set pit and garage location for the Rolex 24 At Daytona based on fastest practice times. For schedule details visit prototypechallenge.imsa.com.