Fresno, CA – PR1/ Mathiasen Motorsports has confirmed Frankie Montecalvo, Michael Guasch, David Cheng, and Gunnar Jeannette as the driver line-up for the #52 Bayshore Recycling/ Molecule Labs FLM09 PC Class entry for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona, the season opening event of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC).
Montecalvo and Jeannette will drive for PR1/Mathiasen for the complete TUDOR Championship season. Guasch will compete in the North American Endurance Cup rounds consisting of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, and the 1,000-mile or 10-hour Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta.
After multiple season racing abroad, Montecalvo, of Highlands, NJ, is excited to be returning to competition in the US.
“We’ve had a lot of success in Europe, and the experience I gained at Le Mans in the World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series was invaluable,” Montecalvo said.
“With all of the energy and attention surrounding the inaugural season of the new united series, returning to the States was an easy decision. I’m thrilled to be a part of the TUDOR Championship this year, and I’ll be pushing all year for both the Team and Driver’s Championships. The Rolex 24 at Daytona should be interesting for me for certain. It’ll be my first time in a modern prototype at Daytona, and my first 24-hour race there as well. But I have a long history with the PC cars and I know that PR1/ Mathiasen will give us everything we’ll need to be successful there. I can’t wait to get started!”
After completing a successful test for PR1/Mathiasen at the Roar Before The 24, Michael Guasch, the 2013 American Le Mans Series PC Class Driver’s Champion, is preparing himself for the rigors of Daytona’s daunting 3.56 mile layout.
“The helmet buffering at high speeds can be pretty intense there,” the Martinez, CA, resident stated. “I’m altering my training program to accommodate for that and I’ve been careful to train for endurance, not just for an all-out sprint race. My focus this year is on the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. It’s a great program that highlights all of America’s endurance classics and it will be a unique challenge that will be the springboard to even bigger plans in the series next year. We had a great test during the Roar, really focusing on race pace, pit stops, and just dialing in the program for the 24. It was tremendous to have won the season opener at Sebring last year, and I left the test at Daytona confident that we will once again be fighting for the win right away.”
Born in Beijing, China and a long-time Sammamish, Washington resident, David Cheng will be making his second start for PR1/ Mathiasen Motorsports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“With help from the Orsun Group (Wuhan), I’m really looking forward to a getting a second shot at Daytona after our last attempt in 2011,” the current Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Class Champion said.
“Needless to say, we had a bit of an eye-opening experience last time, running a good portion of the race without our roof after what seemed like a never ending string of bad luck. We quickly became fan favorites that night with our never say die attitude though and it really showed what PR1/ Mathiasen is all about.
“We race to the finish, no matter what! The results speak for themselves, and after getting on the high banks at Daytona in the PC car that we’ve been racing with since 2010, I know that we’ll have more for our fans to talk about really soon.”
Gunnar Jeannette, of Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2011 PC Class Champion is excited about the numerous variables involved in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Frankie and I missed the Roar, so we’ll be heading into the race week without that experience,” Jeannette explained.
“We’ve also been away from the PC class for a few years, and we’ll have to learn the tires and aero changes as well. Couple those issues with the fact that this will be ran under the new competition regulations, a full field of entrants, and a 24-hour grind around a notoriously difficult circuit and the realities of the challenges ahead of us quickly add up!
“Luckily, it’s the sort of challenge that we love and it’s this immense difficulty that will make this event so spectacular. I’m also really looking forward to getting to work for PR1/ Mathiasen this year. They were there in PC from the very start and have always been able to put one of the fastest cars on the track year after year. The #52 is always brutally quick, so I’m relieved that I’ll be racing with it, not against it this year.”
For Team Principal Bobby Oergel, returning to Daytona and beginning the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with such a strong driver line-up is validation of his team’s efforts over the past few years.
“The 2014 season is in many ways, the culmination of everything we’ve been working towards for the past five years,” Oergel said. “Our initial foray into sports car racing after our time in open wheel was a steep learning curve that saw us eventually lead several GRAND AM races, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2010. Our ALMS PC program launched later that year, eventually earning several podiums and wins at Road America and the Petit Le Mans in 2011.
“Last year was a dream season with wins at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, three straight poles, and the Driver’s Championship for Michael. What’s exciting to me is that every one of this year’s drivers has been a part of that history. David has been with the team in various series for years now and obviously Michael was a huge part of our success last year. And although Frankie and Gunnar will be new to the team, racing against drivers of their exceptional caliber made us work harder each and every race.
“They helped make us who we are and it’ll be great to have them with us this year. For 2014, all of the best drivers, best teams, and the best events are in place. The competition will be positively fierce and we’ll have to use everything we’ve learned during what can only be described as the world’s toughest SportsCar series. We’re ready.
Television and online coverage of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona is as follows:
Saturday, Jan. 25
2-4 p.m. ET on FOX
4-9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2
Overnight, Jan. 25-26
9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ET on IMSA.com
Sunday, Jan. 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. on FOX Sports 1
For more information, visit www.imsa.com
Drivers and partners interested in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports TUDOR United SportsCar Championship program can contact the team directly at email@example.com or at (559) 277-1300.
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About PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
In paddocks packed with excellent teams and quality drivers, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has established itself as one of motorsport’s premier organizations. The operation is based in Fresno, CA where PR1/Mathiasen occupies a 5000 square foot facility that houses a stable of F2000 Zetec, F1600, GRAND-AM, and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race cars, plus a full-time crew of technicians and engineers. Since 1990, PR1/Mathiasen has won 45 championships in a wide assortment of world-class series before joining the American Le Mans Series full-time in 2010. In just 25 races, the team has scored six pole positions and have won four races including victories at the legendary Road America, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and the world renowned Twelve Hours of Sebring. In 2013, PR1/ Mathiasen won the American Le Mans series Prototype Challenge Driver’s Championship with Michael Guasch. The team’s alumni and active driver roster includes an impressive list of accomplished drivers including IndyCar stars J.R. Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball, sports car legends Luiz Diaz, Butch Leitzinger, and Marino Franchitti, and rising stars Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Lewis.