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SCM Shows Race Pace at Daytona

Fuel pickup issues prevent the team from taking the Motul Pole Award 100 win, but plenty of positives from the Roar Before the 24

DAYTONA, Fla. (24 January 2021) – A solid run at the front of the LMP3 class field in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100 showed the Sean Creech Motorsport team that its No. 33 Ligier PS320 has the race pace to contend, as attention now turns toward next weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The driving quartet of João Barbosa, Lance Willsey, Wayne Boyd and Yann Clairay put the new car through its paces through three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course. The quickest time of the weekend came during night practice Saturday, a 1:43.764-second lap that bodes well for next weekend’s race. Willsey and Barbosa, the team’s two full-season drivers, were tapped for Sunday’s qualifying race. The 100-minute sprint is a new event on the IMSA calendar, with the results of the race being used to set the grid for the start next Saturday.

Sunday morning’s warm up saw warming temperatures, but a sudden shower just one hour before the green flag meant that Willsey would start the race on Michelin rain tires. Taking the green in fifth and moving into fourth at the start, Willsey made a good move through the grass to avoid cars spinning in the wet conditions.

A pair of restarts saw the nearly 50-car field scramble through the tight turn one as the drivers fought for both position and grip on the changing track surface. Willsey was able to make progress in concert with the rapidly drying surface ahead of turning the car over to Barbosa as the race neared the halfway mark.

In short order, the four-time Rolex 24 winner had placed the car in the lead – by nearly a lap and a half. But the run out front came to an early end as a fuel pressure problem caused a significant loss of pace. With the big focus being on the 24, the team made the call not to risk the engine as Barbosa took to the garage before the checkered flag flew.

Despite the setback, the entire team leaves the Roar knowing they have the pace to keep the car up front.

“The start went as close to perfect as it could have,” said Willsey. “I got by six or seven cars in the first few corners, but there was a multi-car incident ahead of me in Turn Six and I had to roll through the grass to get by safely. The car was good throughout the stint, the strategy was good, but it was hard to find standing water for the rain tires, so it was good to pit and get Joao in the car. He went to P1 in no time, but we ran into some electrical problems with the fuel pump system and had to retire out of the lead, which is very frustrating – but, better now than next week.

“The weekend was a series of ups and downs, working through the characteristics of the car, as this is a new car for us, but (engineers) Kevin (Doran), Mark (Schomann), Sean and the team worked through it and gave us a good car last night and today,” said Willsey, who is making his 10th Rolex 24 campaign. “The car felt pretty solid  for a long run, and that bodes well. I have full confidence that the team will get this sorted out – we’re close to where we need to be to run up front next weekend.”

“It’s always tough when you don’t finish the race, but obviously it’s good that it happened now,” said Barbosa. “The team did a super job on strategy, but we have an issue with fuel pickup or engine that we haven’t had before, and we need to figure that out. It’s a shame, because the car was running so well, and we were in a strong position to win. I know the team will figure it out and hopefully we’ll have a smooth race next weekend.”

The list of new items for the team includes getting everyone as familiar with the systems and feel for the all-new Ligier machine ahead of the big race next weekend.

“It’s disappointing to have a finish like that in the qualifying race,” said Boyd, “But for me, I try to stay positive – and it’s better happening now than next week! Our pace has been strong so hopefully we’ll get this ironed out. The team worked hard on the setup all weekend, and it’s a comfortable to drive for the distance of the race. We worked through a lot of things this weekend, so I believe we look quite strong for next week.”

“The car was pretty strong by the end of the weekend,” said Clairay. “We had some problems with the balance early,  but we worked through that and found a good car. I think we have the car to win the race, but we have to figure out the technical problems we encountered today. It’s better to win the race when you are leading, but the qualifying race is not the real race. It’s not far from last to first over 24 hours, we just need to stay problem-free.”

“We had a few issues early in the run as the track began to dry,” said Team Owner, Sean Creech. “But the strategy was good. Joao did a great job to put the car out front, but then we got let down by the car in the end. We had an issue this morning and changed everything – the pumps, the filters, the regulator, everything in the fuel system, and it came back. It’s obviously something else, but we’ll dig into it and fix it.”

The Rolex 24 at Daytona – race one of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season – takes the green flag at 3:40pm Eastern next Saturday, live on NBC. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. between NBC and NBCSN (check local listings), while international viewers can watch via IMSA Radio will also be available at

Sean Creech Motorsport
Team leader Sean Creech has competed in a multitude of sports car series from 1990 until the present day, including Group C, IMSA GTP, WTSCC, Grand-Am, SRO World Challenge, and IMSA. SCM moves to the WeatherTech Series in 2021 with Joao Barbosa and Lance Willsey.