In With the New
DEERFIELD BEACH, Florida. (November 13, 2018) – Performance Tech Motorsports partook in the dawn of a new era at Sebring International Raceway.
Performance Tech Motorsports started the 2019 season on Nov. 11, 2018 as it took to the track for the introduction of Michelin Tire with the four-hour Michelin SportsCar Encore at Sebring International Raceway. The team used this opportunity to introduce new crew members, drivers and tires to the Ligier LMP3. Team Principal Brent O’Neill took advantage of the Encore, introducing people to IMSA at a lesser cost and outside of the championship hunt.
“The car was good everybody did a really good job,” O’Neill said. “Brad did his fastest lap ever there so that was great. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the clutch with a little over an hour left and had to retire. We brought the guys who ran our MPC cars over, so we could transition them to the LMP3. It was a great learning weekend for everyone.”
Following the installation of the one hour and forty-minute race format to IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2018 a need for an endurance tire quickly became apparent. Michelin unveiled the new endurance compound this weekend presenting the teams and drivers with a unique learning curve.
The Performance Tech engineers used this bonus weekend as an opportunity to test tire pressures and work with the drivers on in-car verbalization of the status of the tire life. Driver, Brad Baker, benefited ever further from the race as he began the delicate process of adjusting their driving style to get maximum performance and maximum time out of each set of tires.
Amid the abundance of introductions to the team this weekend was Baker’s introduction to IMSA racing. Baker dove into his first IMSA sanctioned weekend head first, shaving over five seconds off his time from Practice One to Qualifying. Baker presented an uncanny ability to actively learn and correct whilst driving making him a promising rookie to watch next season.
Baker was joined in the No. 19 by driver coach Bruno Junqueira and professional driver Jan Heylen. He started the No. 19 from 11th for Saturday’s Michelin Tire SportsCar Encore and maintained his position before handing it over to Heylen at the one-hour mark. Heylen reported clutch issues with one hour and 30-minutes remaining in the four-hour race. Upon returning to the garage for further inspection it became apparent the clutch could not be repaired in the remaining time giving Performance Tech no choice but to retire.
Performance Tech Motorsports’ plans for its 2019 expansion are in full swing at the team’s headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Bakers No. 19 Ligier LMP3 is set to compete in a full season of IMSA Prototype Challenge alongside a combination of Performance Tech veteran drivers and a few new faces. The team’s next outing will be the IMSA sanctioned December test at Daytona International Speedway during the first week of December. Follow the team on social media or visit performancetechmotorsports.com to keep up to date on the latest driver announcements and pairings.