AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport are still working on understanding the ACOs mandated Joker Upgrade to the Ligier JS P217 chassis. The newly combined AFS/PR1 effort took to the track for the first time during the Roar Before the 24 test last weekend.
The combined efforts of AFS Racing and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports should improve the teams outlook for the 2018 season, after a tough opening year with the Ligier. Gustavo Yacaman, Sebastian Saavedra, Roberto Gonzalez and Nick Boulle will pilot the red and yellow #52 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The team are still working on understanding the new upgrades done to the Ligier by Onroak. With only a couple of weeks before the Rolex 24, time is tight.
“I felt very comfortable and got up to speed quite quickly with the help of my teammates.” said Saavedra. “There’s still quite a good amount of things we need to understand with the new upgrades which will give us more speed.”
For Team Principle Gary Peterson, the test was as much about the newly combined team working together for the first time, as it was about the car.
““Overall I was very impressed with the AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports team and crew overall” said Gary. “We still need to fine tune the car with the new Ligier upgrades, but we are working hard on it so we improve and can be running consistently inside the top 10.”
Despite the learning curve, the team completed 3 days of trouble free running at Daytona and have gotten all four drivers familiar with the car.
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Much has been made about the Joker upgrades to the global LMP2 cars in Europe, but it’s often forgotten that there are privateer teams in IMSA running the very same cars.
The Joker upgrade is designed to bring the Ligier, Dallara and Riley closer to the dominant Oreca 07. Daytona is the time we’ll get to see the upgrades in action, but it’s perhaps not the best circuit to demonstrate the kits.
The Le Mans aero kit is for Le Mans only, so circuits like Daytona and Paul Ricard require the regular kit in a low downforce configuation. This situation hasn’t be the Ligier strong point so far, so it’s hard to judge if it’s closer to the Oreca and Dallara.
We may have to wait for Sebring to get a better representation of the new kits.