PC Veterans O'Ward, Masson Step Up With Performance Tech

Monday, February 6, 2017

Performance Tech Motorsports has named Patricio O’Ward as the second driver in the No. 38 Prototype Challenge.

O’Ward joins James French for the remaining rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In O’Ward’s first WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race he took home a Rolex for winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Performance Tech. O’Ward is one of the youngest winners in the history of the endurance race. He was 176 days’ shy of being the youngest winner ever.

His strong performance at Daytona and his ability to be a great teammate is what sealed the deal with Team Principal Brent O’Neill. However, the relationship between the Team Principal and driver has been one in the making for nearly a year. O’Ward first joined the Performance Tech team in 2016 for the first two rounds of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda (formerly Prototype Lites) at Sebring International Raceway.

O’Ward and O’Neill stayed in touch over the year and eventually the possibility of joining the team again, this time in the PC, came to fruition. O’Ward joined Performance Tech at the Roar Before the 24 and impressed O’Neill with his ability to get up to speed quickly. O’Ward continued to impress O’Neill and after the practice weekend they began laying out details to have O’Ward for the full season.

“We had opportunities arise going into Daytona and if we had a good showing we could get Pato’s deal done,” O’Neill said. “He’s really just awesome, he and James will be great together. It’ll be a good pairing and a plus for us is that we have two silvers that are really fast. It gives us options in the pits with what we can do with strategy.

“The only thing we’ll really be working on with Pato is how he still loses sight of time during the race. He comes from the format of 45-minutes races. He’s from the sprint race mentality so every once in a while, you have to tell him to reign it in. But he’s so professional in the car. He doesn’t throw the car off and he turns competitive lap times. They’ll be awesome teammates and I know James is excited about it. They’re both great kids.”

For O’Ward it was the combination of enjoying the car and team that propelled him to race in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.

“The PC car is so different than what I’ve driven before,” O’Ward said. “It’s heavy but it’s not a slow car. It was impressive when I drove it. The PC has 540 horse power, roughly I think. It’s an enjoyable car to drive. In the rain, it’s not so enjoyable. With the cold weather and rain in the Rolex 24 it was difficult to handle. That’s more the weather though not the car. It’s not as physical as I thought it would be. It’s the only open cockpit car in IMSA. So, it’s cool to be a part of the last year of the class.

“I’m really happy that Performance Tech accepted me as a person and driver. I loved working with James, Nick and Kyle. I’m excited for the rest of the season, hopefully the field grows. I really want a good car count for competition. We had a strong car at Daytona and I think we’ll have a strong car moving forward. The objective is always to win, it’s not always possible but that’s the target, to win the championship. I just want to say thank you to Brent, the team, my family and all my sponsors for this opportunity.”

IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda driver Kyle Masson will pull double duty as he hunts down the development series championship and jumps in the No. 38 PC as the third driver in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship. Masson was also a part of the driver lineup behind the Rolex 24 At Daytona win. This will be Masson’s first year in the PC car and second season in the Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series. At the upcoming Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida Masson will compete in a total of four races, three Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda races and the endurance event.

"I am really excited to join James and Pato at Performance Tech in their hunt for the Tequila Patròn Endurance championship,” Masson said. “As a unit we all worked really well together at Daytona and we had great pace. I think keeping the group that swept Daytona together is a smart move and I am ecstatic about the opportunity to stay with them. I am looking forward to seeing what we are capable of at Sebring. I have high hopes and expectations coming off a dominant win at the Rolex 24."

Performance Tech Motorsports will be in full force at Sebring International Raceway March 15-18. The No. 38 will be prepared and ready to race in Round Two of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will continue to announce its growing Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda team as it heads toward the start of the series season.Stay updated with Performance Tech Motorsports by following the team on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.