All systems go after a successful day at Daytona International Speedway
JUPITER, Fla. (9 October 2023) – Following a series of very long days of preparation to rapidly acclimatize to a new machine, Sean Creech Motorsport (SCM) completed a successful test of its new Ligier JS P217 LMP2 car last week at Daytona International Speedway.
The hard work and attention to detail paid off as the team’s first-ever outing with the unique machine saw the drivers combine for solid number of laps as the team put the Ligier through a long list of systems checks – and more.
The Ligier JS P217 first arrived at the team’s Florida shop on Monday, July 24 – marking an incredible 72 days (which includes the days spent at the Road America and Indianapolis races) to completely strip down the car and replace each component (down to the nuts and bolts) and install new everything – inside and out.
The SCM team had the date on its calendar for some time, with crew members working long hours to make the deadline. In the end, they not only made the test deadline, they delivered a solid race car.
“I’ve lost count of the 12-hour days,” said Creech.
Last Wednesday morning, the team prepared to test the car with João Barbosa at the wheel, beginning with evaluations of every system – engine, ECU, steering – with input from around the world.
“At one point, four or five people were on the phone, each with different people,” said Barbosa. “They were talking to engineers from Gibson, from Cosworth, getting everything checked remotely, like the fly-by-wire system, engine mapping, everything. The team wanted to learn as much as possible before the car went out on track, to understand everything that was happening.”
After several rounds of installation laps and systems checks under the watchful eye of Ligier engineers, the team progressed rapidly, pacing the car in five-lap increments. By afternoon, they began working on setup and by the end of the day, the car had completed over 30 trouble-free laps – impressing not only the SCM team, but Ligier as well.
“By the end, it was just another test session,” said Creech. “We started working on the balance – getting more traction, reducing understeer. The point was to put miles on the car and see what we need to address, but now it’s just all the regular small things that you’d be working on at any test.
“It’s a brand-new car for the team,” Creech continued. “Some of the weekend mechanics have worked on P2 cars before but for most of the team, it’s a completely different car. I’m impressed with how well it came together.”
“The successful rollout is a testament to the wide range of skills at SCM,” said Chris Lowe, Motorsport Manager for North America, Ligier Automotive North America. “The meticulous care put into the preparation was obvious and will be rewarding as we push to extract the maximum performance.
“The communication is solid, with an emphasis on Joao’s – and soon, Lance Willsey’s – feedback,” Lowe continued. “Everyone from Ligier was welcomed and integrated into each aspect of the car and engineering team. To have such a talented group of people working so well together in a matter of days is a sure sign of what’s to come.”
“I’m so happy for the team, to see their hard work pay off,” said Barbosa. “They put so much time in to get it ready, with no breaks. For the first test, it definitely exceeded our expectations and that’s a testament to the work Sean and the crew put in. Our starting point is much further along than we thought we’d be at this point.”
Barbosa will be learning a new car along with the crew, but after day one, he likes what he sees.
“It’s a proper race car,” said Barbosa. “It’s a solid car, with a full carbon tub, and it does everything just a bit better than the LMP3 car. There’s a lot more aero, better brakes, better handling. We’ll be able to get a better run away from the GTD cars, which will help in traffic.”
SCM will continue its off-season testing program in preparation for the January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, and the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona.
SCM thanks partner Focal One for its continued support.
Photos courtesy João Barbosa.
Team leader Sean Creech has competed in a multitude of sports car series from 1990 until the present day, including Group C, IMSA GTP, WSC, Grand-Am, SRO World Challenge, and IMSA. SCM will contest the full WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023 with João Barbosa and Lance Willsey. http://seancreechmotorsport.com/
About Focal One
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