Two-time IMSA champion Joao Barbosa has landed a full-season LMP3 drive with Sean Creech Motorsport as part of the team’s move to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ranks this year.
The Florida-based team will field a Ligier JS P320 Nissan for Barbosa and Lance Willsey for the entire seven-round season and will be joined by French racer Yann Clairay and reigning European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Wayne Boyd for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
All four drivers have previous experience racing for the twam, with Barbosa having first driven with Creech when he was establishing himself in the U.S. nearly two decades back.
Clairay, Boyd, and Willsey have all competed with Creech in IMSA Prototype Challenge.
“I worked with Sean back when I was racing a Porsche GT2 (for Mike Colucci Racing) and we always kept in touch through the years,” said Barbosa, who was let go from his full-time drive with JDC-Miller Motorsports mid-season.
“Every time we’d catch up, we’d talk about working together as we always had a good relationship. So when I was testing at Daytona last year, we were talking again, but this time everything fell into place!
“So it’s really exciting for me to be able to get to race for Sean after all these years of talking about it.
“I want to thank Lance and Sean for having me be part of the program and I’m looking forward to teaming up with Lance. He is passionate and very competitive, and Sean has put some very experienced people in place so this program has all the opportunity to be competitive that you could ask for.”
Willsey has competed in the LMP3 ranks since the class was established in IMSA in 2017.
“I’ve known of Joao and his success for many years and when we found out he was available, it was a no brainer to reach out and see if he was interested,” he said.
“Despite the limited testing we’ve had with the new car, his insights and experience have been invaluable to get us going in the right direction to fully understand the car.
“Having this driver lineup, combined with Sean’s experience and everything that Mark Schomann and Kevin Doran bring this is a great nucleus of people.”
The 2021 season will mark the latest progression for the team, which has most recently competed in IMSA Prototype Challenge.
“I’m happy to have this driver line up—these are all guys that we know and have worked with before, so I think thats going to be a big piece of the puzzle for this race,” said Creech.
“There are so many unknowns in any 24-hour race, and with this being the first year for the LMP3s, that is even more true.
“But we got the car in the beginning of December and have been able to run it a couple of times to learn as much as possible in preparation for the Rolex 24.
“Despite limited time with the new chassis and engine package, the team has worked relentlessly to be in position to fight for a win on Sunday afternoon.”
Doran, Schomann on Pit Box for LMP3 Effort
The team will also lean on the experience of Kevin Doran, who has won the Rolex 24 five times in roles varying from crew chief, team owner and manufacturer.
Doran will put his years of insight and success at Daytona towards the effort as he heads up engineering along with Mark Schomann.
“As happy as I am with our driver lineup, the guys we’ve got on this team really know what they are doing and have so much experience—a lot of which we’ve gained together in a lot of cases,” said Creech.
“Mark has engineered pretty much every kind of race car there is, and having Kevin with us is another big boost.
“It’s kind of full circle, because I worked with him (Doran) back in the 90s so this is great to be working together again.
“There is a lot of 24 experience—both Le Mans and Daytona- on our team and with a race that you never know what its going to throw at you, that can be critical.”