DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Buddy Rice, who won the 2004 Indianapolis 500, will return to road racing this season as part of a two car BAR1 Motorsports entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Prototype Challenge class.
BAR1 will enter the No. 20 Gas Monkey Energy Drink / Merchant Services Ltd. Factgem ORECA FLM09 driven by Don Yount, Rice, Mark Kvamme, Chapman Ducote and Gustavo Yacaman and the No. 26 Autosport Designs / Case It ORECA FLM09 shared by Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman.
“I’m very excited with our line up,” noted team owner Brian Alder. “Don (Yount) and Buddy (Rice) are paired up for the full season. I think they’re going to do really well together and it’s a big advantage to the team knowing you’ll have two drivers committed to pursuing both the WeatherTech Championship and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship. Obviously, Buddy brings a lot of knowledge and experience to our program.”
“I wasn’t sure Johnny [Mowlem] would be back with us,” laughed Alder. “Fans may recall his announcement that he’d be retiring after Petit Le Mans. Well… he’s back, and we couldn’t be happier to see him behind the wheel of the No. 26. Johnny will be joined by Tom Papadopoulos. Tom and Johnny have a considerable amount of experience sharing driving duties together and I expect they’ll be up-to-speed in no time. Adam Merzon ran with us at the 24 in 2016… I’m sure we’ll pick up right where we left off. Trent Hindman is new to the program, but for a young guy (21) he brings a lot of experience having won three times in the 2016 (3rd overall with six podiums) Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and as the 2016 Champion of the Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo Nother America Pro Am class. All four of the drivers in the 26 car tested together in November at Daytona and have already jelled well as a team.”