Fresno, California – December 19, 2017 - AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports announced today that it will field its #52 Ligier JSP 217 in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with full time drivers 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 sportscar racing after a long and successful run in the open-wheel world where the team achieved multiple championships, race wins, and pole positions in the Indy lights and IndyCar Series. AFS Racing and Gary Peterson have also been an integral stepping stone in the open-wheel ladder system giving various young drivers the opportunity to showcase their talents in the AFS Racing machines.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports will continue its proven winning record in the sportscars world returning to the P category for their second year, after a strong showing in 2017 that saw their #52 machine competing for podiums, front row starts and achieving three track records. PR1 has had a successful career in IMSA winning various races and championships in the LMPC category, including two consecutive Tequila Patron Endurance Championships in 2015-2016, a single Daytona 24hr win, three Sebring 12hr wins, three Petit Lemans wins, and over 15 notable separate event wins.
The new AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorports team will now combine their proven winning experience as they together fight for the 2018 title. The team will maintain its relationship with Onroak Automotive as they field their Ligier JSP 217 for the second year in a row.
Sebastian Saavedra will make his full time debut in sportscars after a successful open-wheel career which saw him compete with some of the biggest IndyCar teams including Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport and KV Racing. The young driver became the first of his generation to carry the Colombian flag in IndyCar after Juan Pablo Montoya and Roberto Guerrero.
Gustavo Yacaman returns to full time IMSA competition after competing in the FIA World Endurance Championsip, and most recently the European Le Mans Series where he won the last two races of the 2017 season. In 2012, he finished third at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and in 2014 he scored 1 win, 1 pole, and 5 podiums in his last full season in IMSA.
Also joining the team as Commercial and Sporting director will be Toni Calderon, who’s previous experience includes building and leading RGR Sport in the FIA World Endurance Championship achieving two wins and second place in the LMP2 world Championship in 2016. He is also a partner at Speed Group.
"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.
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."
“Every one of the team members were so happy to learn about this opportunity that we’ve been able to assemble. 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!"
“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. 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.”
“I am delighted to be a part of this new adventure, and even better to have Sebastian as my teammate. 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.
The AFS/PR1 Mathiasen combination could not be more perfect to take on this challenge, It’s very similar to Sebastian and me. Bobby from PR1 has all the experience from endurance racing and Gary Peterson from AFS has a huge Indycar Background. So together they should complement each other nicely. Without them this program could not have been possible, so I really can’t thank Gary and Bobby enough, I can’t wait to hit the ground running at the Roar!”