DAYTONA, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2015) – Due to heavy damage from contact by multiple cars Performance Tech Motorsports retired early from the 53rd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona International Speedway.
James French was behind the wheel of the No. 38 Prototype Challenge car when he received contact from behind that caused him to spin; two other cars struck French who were unable to avoid the spinning vehicle. The ORECA FLM 09 machine was towed back to the garage at the ninth hour of the 24-hour endurance event.
Damage to the front axle left the car unable to steer. Body damage to the front left of the car acted as a barrier that kept the tires from rotating forward under the PC’s own power. The team, already 26 laps down from the class leader due to a mechanical issue earlier in the race, quickly got to work in an attempt to salvage the remaining 15 hours of the race.
However, the excessive damage left the car irreparable in the time allotted. Performance Tech was forced to retire early from the first race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
Prior to the race ending incident the team had been turning quick lap times and was running steady. French’s first stint placed the team in second place in the PC class. Sean Johnston led the PC class for a majority of his stint. Jerome Mee had been running consistent lap times until an electrical issue caused the team to bring the No. 38 behind the wall for repair. Once back out on track Mee picked up right where he left off on pace. Then James Vance was put to the test of helping make up some of the lost laps. In his hour stint he gained back two laps.
Overall the team was unhappy with the outcome but satisfied with the personal efforts of each individual.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill: “It’s just one of those things in this multi-class racing,” O’Neill said. “We were hit by one of the factory cars, I think it was the BMW who hit us and started the domino effect. It’s unfortunate because we put together a really good car. But here we are packing up early. The guys in the car really did a great job out there. The crew worked hard to get the car back out. It just didn’t work out for us here.”
James French: “I think throughout the race we had good pace,” French said. “We had a good car up until the moment I was spun and hit. Everybody on the team did a great job. We worked really hard all weekend and made a lot of progress. I think we’ll just have to get them next time.”
Sean Johnston: “Clearly the outcome isn’t what any of us had wanted going into this race,” Johnston said. “The team effort this whole week has just been awesome. I think everyone did a really good job. This is just part of the deal in racing. Sometimes it’s incredibly awesome sometimes it’s heartbreaking. I’m bummed I only got one stint in the car. But hey, it was an awesome stint and I’m stoked on it. I’m really happy with my pace. That’s life and we’ll just keep on moving on. Regardless of outcome I also need to thank my sponsor Driscoll’s for making this opportunity a reality for me.”
Jerome Mee: “Really kind of a tough situation,” Mee said. “I feel a lot for James (French). It’s hard, as we get deeper into the race for these things to happen. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was just put in a bad spot at the wrong time. Someone else made a mistake and it cost us the race. Things were going well outside of the little mechanical issue we had. I think we were all driving well; the car was set up really well. It’s just unfortunate. I think the only thing left to say is let’s go win Sebring.”
James Vance: “We were doing well and I think it showed in our pace,” Vance said. “I also think it showed as a testament to the team that they put together a solid car which made it possible for us to run the consistent pace that we were. Personally the car felt amazing while I was out there. Thankfully James French is okay. There are always more races.”
Keep up with Performance Tech Motorsports by following the team on Facebook and Twitter at @Perf_Tech. For more information on the team, visit performancetechmotorsports.com.
ABOUT PERFORMANCE TECH MOTORSPORTS: Competing in IMSA races for nearly three decades as a driver and/or team manager, Brent O’Neill founded Performance Tech Motorsports with the goal to help drivers become more competitive and move up the racing ladder. Whether you are a driver or a sponsoring company or team owner/partner, it takes more than talent, money and desire to win a racing championship. It takes racing management experience. With thirty one years in the racing business and a cumulative team experience of over 110 years, Performance Tech Motorsports has a full range of leading edge engineering, vehicle enhancement, program management/logistics and at track support to help our clients win on and off the track.
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