AFS & PR1 Combine For IMSA Prototype Effort

AFS Racing and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports have merged and will tackle the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule in 2018.

FRESNO, Calif. – AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports will field its No. 52 Ligier JSP 217 for the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule with Sebastian Saavedra and Gustavo Yacaman behind the wheel.

This new entry is a result of a merger between AFS Racing and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, and will see Gary Peterson and Bobby Oergel sharing duties as Team Principals.

AFS Racing will make its debut in sports car racing after a run in the open-wheel world where the team achieved multiple championships, race wins, and pole positions in the Indy lights and the IndyCar Series.

“As a former owner & driver in open wheel racing I’m excited to be joining a great team by partnering with owner Bobby Oergel’s PR1 team,” said Peterson. “Along with Bobby, I hope to continue on building the team along with Onroak for technical support. With both our involvement we have been able to put a very good selection of drivers to run the races starting within weeks.  I look forward to learning as much as possible this coming season and helping everywhere I can. Everything came together so quickly with the efforts of all parties working towards the goal of building a great team. This wouldn’t have possible without the involvement of Toni Calderon and Onroak Automotive.

“I still have my IndyCar and the equipment so I’m not closing the door on the IndyCar Series just yet. They have treated me very well and I have so many friends there, it will be tough not to be all together at the races, however I look forward to making just as many new friends with this series.”

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports returns to the Prototype category for their second year after a strong showing in 2017 that saw their No. 52 machine competing for podiums, front row starts and achieving three track records.

PR1 has had a successful history in IMSA, winning various races and championships in the LMPC category, including two consecutive Tequila Patron Endurance Championships in 2015-2016, a Rolex 24 victory, three Sebring wins and three Petit Le Mans wins.

“Every one of the team members were so happy to learn about this opportunity that we’ve been able to assemble,” said Oergel. “AFS and Gary Peterson’s passion for motorsports fits right in with how strong we believe the team can be. It’s obviously a bit tough at the moment with how late this has come together, but the big picture is what this partnership is all about and I am looking forward to a long and prosperous future for all of us together.”

Saavedra will make his full-time debut in sportscars after an open-wheel career that saw him drive for the likes of Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport and KV Racing.

“I’m very excited with this new chapter in my career, and very honored and humbled to be a part of building this new organization together with Gary Peterson and Bobby Oergel,” said Saavedra. “It’s something that has been in the works for two years now and making it a reality is definitely one of the highlights of my career. I’m looking forward on the whole concept of Team Colombia and building a very strong alliance and performance team in what will be a very competitive season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”

Yacaman returns to full-time IMSA competition after competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and most recently the European Le Mans Series, where he won the last two races of the season.

“I am delighted to be a part of this new adventure, and even better to have Sebastian as my teammate,” said Yacaman. “It’s the first time two Colombian drivers work together for one common goal, we will be an example for many generations to come. Seb comes from Indycar where you need to drive at the very limit and push very hard every lap so I am looking forward to learning something from him on that side.

“On the same token, I have a lot of experience in endurance racing and really understand it well, I know when to push and when to take a step back so I hope I can pass along what I have learned in the past five years to him. For me it’s also very special to be back in a Ligier and working with Onroak Automotive as I have had a lot of success in the past with this manufacturer. I really look forward to build upon where we left off two years ago after a great couple of season in IMSA and WEC.”