ANSA looking for a Florida three-peat

March 6, 2019

ANSA looking for a Florida three-peat

March 6, 2019

The second round of the IMSA Prototype Challenge season is among the races on the “Super Sebring” weekend this month. ANSA Motorsports will look to go back-to-back to open the 2019 campaign.

But for the Miami-based team, it’s also a chance to extend its winning streak with its Ligier LMP3 car to three wins in a row in its home state, since Michelin became the official supplier of LMP3 tires to IMSA teams.

ANSA’s success with its LMP3 machinery in IMSA has often followed a formula. Generally, it’s taken a rising open wheel driver, placed him in one of its Ligiers, and then utilized the team’s sports car expertise and preparation to achieve success.

No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Ligier at Daytona. Photo: Michelin North America
SEBRING 2017 SEES TEAM WIN FIRST IMSA LMP3 RACE

Nico Jamin’s sports car career began inadvertently in 2017, as the French driver began to explore his options outside what he’d developed as a championship-winning Road to Indy driver. Jamin dominated IMSA’s first LMP3 race weekend with ANSA at Sebring, 2017. From pole position, he won both races.

Jamin is now enjoying success with the Duqueine Engineering team in the European Le Mans Series’ LMP2 class, where he’s been a regular pole position winner.

ENCORE BEGINS MICHELIN’S WORKING WITH LMP3 IN IMSA

Last November at the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring, ANSA and Ligier worked together to install some of Ligier’s open-wheel ladder drivers in its LMP3 cars. Kyle Kirkwood (F3 Americas) and Dakota Dickerson (F4 U.S. Championship) were split in two of the team’s three cars. Neil Alberico, a seven-year Road to Indy veteran, also joined the team for his planned sports car debut.

The team added a mix of rising sports car talents like Roman de Angelis and Zacharie Robichon, along with a host of IMSA Prototype Lites drivers (notably Jon Brownson and Michal Chlumecky) stepping up to LMP3 machinery.

The team added a mix of rising sports car talents like Roman de Angelis and Zacharie Robichon, along with a host of IMSA Prototype Lites drivers (notably Jon Brownson and Michal Chlumecky) stepping up to LMP3 machinery.

Roman de Angelis and Kyle Kirkwood celebrate Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore victory. Photo: Michelin North America

It was clear the chemistry worked. De Angelis, who’d won the 2018 LMP3 opener at Daytona with ANSA, partnered with Kirkwood to win the four-hour Encore. De Angelis’ sports car experience paired nicely with Kirkwood’s high downforce car experience, as he made his sports car debut. It marked the Floridian’s longest race to date, as the majority of his open-wheel races were 40 minutes or less. Veteran, race-winning open-wheel and sports car engineer Tom Brown was part of ANSA’s effort at this race.

STARTING 2019 OFF WELL IN DAYTONA

Flash forward to the 2019 LMP3 opener, again at Daytona. Alberico received a late invite to join Leo Lamelas in the team’s No. 4 Ligier LMP3 for the three-hour race there. The ANSA team performed an engine change to get the car ready to go, and from there, Lamelas and Alberico drove from the rear of the 19-car field to win the race.

ANSA crew services No. 4 Ligier at Daytona. Photo: Michelin North America

So at Sebring, ANSA can add a third straight LMP3 win. Lamelas, meanwhile, has two sets of wins to defend. He shared the winning LMP3 car at last March’s IMSA official weekend with Patricio O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion. And then after winning Daytona, Lamelas seeks his second straight 2019 win to increase his title hopes for this season.

The IMSA Prototype Challenge race from Sebring occurs Thursday, March 14, from 12:35 p.m. ET through 2:20 p.m. ET. It’s the first one-hour, 45-minute race of the six-race season. The race streams live on IMSA.TV with IMSA Radio commentary.

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