A Force To Be Reckoned With: Performance Tech Motorsports Finishes Eighth in Prototype Debut
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2018) – Performance Tech Motorsports proved they are a forced to be reckoned with this weekend at the 56th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona scoring an eighth-place-finish in the Prototype class.
The team started the weekend out strong, gaining onlookers' attention when eighteen-year-old Patricio O’Ward qualified their No. 38 ORECA LMP2 in the fourth position. With all eyes on the team coming off their Prototype Challenge championship, this was exactly what they needed to prove 2017 wasn’t just a one-off season.
As the sun rose on Daytona International Speedway the team eagerly began their thirty-eight-hour workday. Their goal? Replicate the winning race they had run in 2017 down to a tee, claiming no detail is too small.
The green flag flew over Daytona and Team Principal, Brent O’Neill, unleashed a beast he couldn’t put back in its cage. O’Ward made easy work of holding his competitors at bay, passing the reigns to the seasoned pro, James French, after an astonishing quadruple stint.
While their competitors settled in, the Performance Tech drivers showed no signs of slowing down. Kyle Masson was next in the driver lineup, and much like French and O’Ward, proved that age is just a number as he fought hard for precious positions, handing it over to Joel Miller in the eighth position.
From there Miller put his head down and let his factory-driver side show, pushing his way up through the pack. Following Miller's stint the driver rotation starter over, as it would for the entirety of the race.
Like a well-oiled machine the crew and drivers followed this routine for the rest of the race, with only two minor issues.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot on this one,” O’Neill said. “We ran James out of fuel or James ran himself out of fuel, we lost a few laps there. Then all of the boxes that were installed, the tacks shook loose overnight and we had sparks flying inside the car, so that was another two laps. It was just little things like that, but it was good. We finished ahead of bigger teams like Penske and Mazda. That’s a huge accomplishment in our first year.”
The clear and concise communication between the team would allow them to be one of the most consistent players throughout the race, with a low of nineteenth place and a finishing position of eighth.
Next up on Performance Tech's schedule is the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 14-17. The team will also be competing in IMSA Prototype Challenge Powered by Mazda that weekend.
“To get the win last year we had to beat four cars, this year to take eighth we had to beat 12,” French said. “A lot of those teams are factory supported or especially this race the teams were stacked with IndyCar drivers, F1 drivers and Le Mans winners. Not to take away from the competition last year but this was a new level for us. To be competitive against that level of competition really says a lot to everybody on the team. We made the best of what we had with little time to prepare. The Roar was the first time we really had any time with the car. So to earn this result was pretty awesome.”
“I was proud of all the work everyone put into it, the preparation,” Masson said. “We came here fresh, new car that was completely new to the team and they learned it all, figured it all out the best they could. To come here with only three days of prior testing. This was a huge accomplishment for such a new team to the prototype class. That’s what I’m most proud of. Everyone did a great job.”
“I think this weekend was a weekend to learn from,” O’Ward said. “I’m really proud of the job I did; I drove like 14 or 15 stint which is like 10 hours. I’m really proud of my performance in qualifying. I just wanted to show people what I’m capable of and what I can do with an ORECA P2 car and I think I opened a good amount of eyes. I’m excited to see what comes next. I hope I can do this race again next year and compete for another Rolex.”
“I think for a team that has had the car for less than a month to come and get a top-ten is really fantastic,” Miller said. “I’m really happy that I was able to help them do that. All of the drivers did a great job, the crew did a great job, hats off to them.To get a top-ten against the big names is fantastic. The car qualified well, performed great and I look forward to seeing them at Sebring. I’d love to do some more work with them, but either way I wish them the best.”