JUPITER, Fla. (13 December 2022) – Sean Creech Motorsport (SCM) returns to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock in 2023, with drivers João Barbosa and Lance Willsey set for a full season in the No. 33 SCM Exelixis/Focal One Ligier JS P320.
With several new Ligier JS P320s in its stable (including cars recently acquired from CORE Autosport), the team continues to explore the possibilities for next season, which starts with the team’s home race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Decisions are pending regarding a possible two-car WeatherTech series team or entry into both WeatherTech and the new VP Racing SportsCar Challenge.
“Having several cars does give us plenty of options for 2023,” said team principal Sean Creech. “Primary focus will of course be on the WeatherTech series – we finished fourth in the championship this year and definitely want to go after that title next year. We’ve had discussions with additional drivers, which would make it a two-car team, but nothing concrete yet. We are also looking at the VP series, with Lance interested in running, as well as several other drivers. It’s an exciting time for IMSA and we’re looking forward to getting the season underway at our home race in Daytona.”
SCM joined the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021, though Creech has competed in sports car racing for over 30 years. After a partial season in 2021, the team contested the full LMP3 schedule in 2022, with season highlights including a victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the team’s second-straight podium at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and a podium finish at the Motul Petit Le Mans.
The team finished second in the Michelin Endurance Cup (compiling points in the four endurance races – Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta) only six points behind the winner and scored a fourth-place finish in the final LMP3 team standings, with a total of 271 laps led on the year. The goal for 2023 is clear: continue that forward momentum.
“I look at endurance racing as an iterative process,” said Willsey. “We as a team are learning about the car every weekend and at every test. We improved from last season to this season, and I don’t see any reason that won’t continue, based on the caliber of the team Sean has assembled.”
Focused on continuing that progress, the team looks to come out of the gate strong in 2023 with an eye on that most prestigious prize, the iconic Cosmograph Daytona Rolex worn only by Rolex 24 winners. Barbosa is already the proud owner of four winner’s Rolex timepieces and knows what it takes to capture the top spot in one of the world’s endurance classics.
“We have improved our knowledge of the Ligier each year, and I think we’ll be even more competitive this year than the past two years,” said Barbosa, who lives in nearby Ormond Beach. “With two years of experience, the team knows exactly what to do. It’s one of my favorite races of the year, even more so because I get to stay in my own home the whole time!”
Much of the current SCM crew joined Creech in running the Extreme Speed Motorsports IMSA Prototype Challenge program from 2016 to 2018, winning the 2018 title with Kris Wright. The team has increased its knowledge of the Ligier each year and aims to continue its high standard of execution in 2023 – hoping to have a bit more luck, yielding the kind of results that highlight the excellent crew work and race reliability.
“Consistency is our biggest goal for this season,” said Barbosa. “We had good pace, but not consistent results, though we always had a competitive car. There were good finishes at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta and we want to continue – and try to be even stronger next year.”
“One of the things that gives me optimism and enthusiasm for the upcoming season is the fact that we had no mechanical issues for the entire season,” continued Willsey. “The car performed flawlessly: I don’t see how the team could possibly have done a better job in giving the drivers a fast car, race in and race out. I have had the benefit of working with João, and others like Malthe (Jakobsen), Seb (Priaulx) and Parker (Thompson) over the past season, which provides an immense data set to learn from.”
The team has scheduled a two-day, two-car test at Daytona International Speedway in mid-December, to work through setups for the Rolex 24 and to finalize the driver lineup. With several drivers in contention to join Willsey and Barbosa at the four-race Michelin Endurance Cup and for the fourth seat at the Rolex 24, it’s a prime opportunity to evaluate not only the speed of each driver, but also to see what each driver’s approach is and how they interact with team members.
“We have had a large number of inbound inquiries regarding opportunities to join us for Daytona as well as for the season,” said Willsey. “We have at our disposal the unique combination of several race ready Ligier LMP320 cars, a history of competing and winning both driver championships as well as races since IMSA welcomed the LMP3 platform. That provides the team the ability to work with and develop drivers to compete at the highest level of motorsports.”
SCM thanks Alta Equipment Corporation for their support in 2022, and partners Focal One and Exelixis for their continued support.
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.
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