Sean Creech Motorsport Continues Ligier Learning Curve at Daytona

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Sean Creech Motorsport Continues Ligier Learning Curve at Daytona

Two-day test at Daytona International Speedway offers an opportunity to gain more knowledge of team’s new Ligier JS P217 ahead of the Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (11 December 2023) – Sean Creech Motorsport (SCM) had a productive test last week, continuing the learning curve with its No. 33 SCM Focal One Ligier JS P217 by pacing 290 laps over two days as the team prepares for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

For full season drivers Lance Willsey and João Barbosa, it was another chance to learn the intricacies of the new Ligier – the only JS P217 currently running in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s highly competitive LMP2 class.

Never having run the car at speed at Daytona, the team came into the test with a lengthy checklist of setup options, amassing a database for the car from scratch while preparing to take on a new class in 2024.

Over the course of five test sessions, including night practice on day two, the drivers and team engineers worked to refine the setup and narrow the balance between speed and traction.

“We made great strides over the course of those two days,” said Willsey, “That said, I think it has, has shown a bright light on the chasm we need to fill between this car and the ORECA chassis. I don’t think it’s an insurmountable gap, but we certainly have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to figure out. Thankfully, the car ran perfectly so we got a lot of run time in and generated a great deal of data. We progressively and sequentially made the car better throughout the two days and while there’s still a very large gap we need to close, I’m quite optimistic we’ll close it – how tight remains to be seen, but it won’t be for lack of effort on the part of the team.”

“We knew it was going to be an uphill climb,” said four-time Rolex 24 winner Barbosa. “But we gained a lot of good information this week, the team did a great job, and the car ran a lot of laps – which is good, we were able to find some of the weak points in the car coming for the 24 hours, which was one of the main goals. We’re generating all our own data, unlike the ORECA teams that have years and years of data and experience on this track. We made some steps forward, and some steps back, but it’s part of learning what the car wants and what we’re trying to achieve. Lance was on pace right away and I was getting more comfortable with the car, so now we just keep working and trying to find a little more speed and get a balance where everybody is more comfortable for running a 24-hour race.”

“We expected this to be a process,” said team principal Sean Creech, who has helped develop numerous cars over the years, including the Callaway Corvette, the Nissan GTP and the Ligier JS P320. “Two steps forward, one step back a few times, but that’s what we expected. This was day one for us at Daytona, so we were working through what didn’t work as well as what did work. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but we have nearly 14 hours of track time and data acquisition down now. I think we’ll be fine.”

The test was also an opportunity to get a look at two new young drivers, both looking for a shot to contest one of the world’s endurance classics – and both newcomers to Daytona.

The team has a fantastic history giving young drivers a shot, with Parker Thompson (now full time with Vasser Sullivan in GTD), Malthe Jakobsen (now a Peugeot junior driver), Nico Pino (contesting the 2024 Michelin Endurance Cup with United Autosport), and Nolan Siegel (a favorite for the 2024 INDY NXT title) all making their mark.

Romanian Filip Ugran, 21, and Englishman Jonny Edgar, 19, each came up through the European open wheel ranks and have now turned their attention toward sports car racing. Ugran finished 10th earlier this year in the FIA Endurance Trophy while Edgar raced in the British GT Championship finale last year in a McLaren GT3.

“I have P2 experience, but this is a different animal,” said Ugran. “This car is quite complicated, especially since you’re driving on the right side, while I’m used to driving from the left side, and it’s also a matter of figuring out how large the car is. But I think we are on the way toward really developing it and, at the end of the day, the car felt much, much better than what I drove in the morning. It was great to work with Lance and João, they both have a lot of experience, especially here at Daytona.”

“I’ve never driven a prototype and it was my first time here,” said Edgar, cousin of F1 Academy race winner Jessica Edgar. “So there was quite a lot to learn, especially at Daytona. The banking was quite interesting at first. It’s like the elevation changes at Eau Rouge the first time you run there, like a roller coaster until you get used to it. But within five laps I felt pretty comfortable and kept improving every lap, and the car improved a great deal over the two days as well. But it was a really enjoyable car to drive and the team was great to work with. It was a great experience.”

“We’re extremely pleased with both Johnny and Filip’s performances,” said Willsey. “They did everything we asked of them and nothing that we asked them not to do, which is critically important. They both bring a lot to the table.”

One more chance to pace the Ligier JS P217 lies ahead for the SCM team, a two-day test at Daytona December 16 and 17.

SCM thanks partner Focal One for its continued support.

The 62nd Rolex 24 at Daytona takes the green flag Saturday, January 27. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on the NBC family of networks beginning at 1:30 p.m., while international viewers can watch via IMSA Radio will be available at