Performance Tech Conquers Rolex 24 At Daytona

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Performance Tech Motorsports is adding Prototype Challenge class pole sitter and winner of the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona to its resume.

Performance Tech finished over 20 laps ahead of the competition to become the final winner of the PC class at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. This is the first-time Performance Tech has won the endurance classic. Previously, its best finish was a third-place finish in 2014. To add to the momentum, this is the team’s first PC class win since 2013 at the ALMS Baltimore Grand Prix.

The race was executed flawlessly though the rain and cold by both crew and drivers. Not once did the No. 38 Ric-Man Construction / NeuroSpine Institute / Stand Up MRI / Cardio Access / AIG Technologies / Justice Brothers PC experience mechanical issues nor did it ever come in contact with another vehicle on track. Though the wear and tear of the 24-hour race was evident at the end, the No. 38 was engineered to near perfection by Lead Engineer Ross Bunnell.

Team Principal Brent O’Neill praised his crew and young drivers for undertaking the 24-hour challenge with the calm steadiness of professionals. O’Neill shared his first victory with James French, Patricio O’Ward, Kyle Masson and Nick Boulle. Each driver had his turn leading the PC class. Performance Tech led the most laps with 614 of the 638 headed by the team and had the fastest lap of the race with French’s 1:42.559 lap.

“This was really special,” O’Neill said. “I think we led all but about 10-minutes of 24 hours. There were a lot of people after the Roar that didn’t think that our car was going to be winning any races any time soon, but here we are. This was good for the whole team. It was a great morale booster as we head into the rest of the season. We had a lot of guests here this race , friends and family, because it’s near our home base. So, it was pretty cool to be able to pull it off. This was a great team effort. The guys in the pits did awesome and each of our drivers drove their butt off. The team deserved this.”

The team win was placed above the individual. Of course, all the hard work pays off for the individual at Daytona as well. Each of the four drivers took home a brand-new Rolex Daytona timepiece. The 2017 edition of the luxury watch features both gold and stainless steel with an oyster face. The watch was designed to meet the demand of the professional racing driver.

James French: “Honestly, it’s very exciting for the team,” French said. “I’ve been with them for a while now, we’re at the beginning of the third year. We’ve had lots of podiums, a lot of seconds and a lot of thirds but no wins. To get our first one together here is pretty huge. I know everybody worked really hard to get it, they work really hard for every race. This one was no different, everybody did an amazing job and I can’t thank them enough for all they do to make this possible.”

Patricio (Pato) O’Ward: “I think we did a pretty good job honestly,” O’Ward said. “With all the rain and the weather, everything was destined to fail. With all of us making almost no mistakes, not one corner was knocked off the car. The car was maybe off in the grass once or something but it was never hit. That is a big achievement, that’s something to be proud of.

“We were talking about being very careful and very cautions with our surroundings. There were definitely some close calls with other cars because it was slippery but we made it out. We got things together and we got out with a win and I think we really deserve it. We finished like 20 laps ahead of P2 so it’s a very special win for us. Not just for me but for all the drivers and the team especially.”

Kyle Masson: “Honestly it hasn’t really hit me yet, I’m kind of in shock right now. I don’t feel like I’ve realized I’ve won it,” Masson said. “I’m sure it’ll hit me tomorrow and I’ll be super excited about it. This was my first go at it, first time winning. My first win is the Rolex. It’s a great race to have as your first win ever in an IMSA series. I’ll probably have more to add to this later but right now I’m just taking in everything we accomplished. And thank you to the team and my family for the support.”

Nick Boulle: “I’ve only had one other shot at winning this race so I’m overjoyed with this experience,” Boulle said. “Things come together for a reason and this deal came together last minute. I knew Brent and James well from a race last year, I was happy to join their team for the 24. Obviously, this is a dream come true. This is a race you dream about growing up and now I have a watch to look down at and remind of this moment every day. Beyond happy.”

Up next Performance Tech will hope to start a winning hot streak. They take to their home track of Sebring International Raceway for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida for Round Two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Cup. The race takes place March 15-18, visit imsa.com for details.

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