NASCAR team Rick Ware Racing has announced an expansion into sports car racing, with planned LMP2 efforts in both the Asian Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The North Carolina-based operation, which currently fields cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series, will campaign two Ligier JS P2 Nissans in the 2019-20 Asian LMS season in partnership with Eurointernational.
It has also revealed intentions of running a LMP2 car in the WeatherTech Championship next year.
The team, which enters its 30th year in motorsports in 2020, is looking to grow its “brand and business model” according to team owner Rick Ware.
“As our sponsors crave even more social media and content, as well as hospitality, the road racing has become very justifiable,” Ware said.
“We are excited to transition many of our NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series sponsors, as well as cultivate new ones. Between the two I feel like RWR is covering the complete spectrum of demographics and potential sponsor needs.
“We have run many drivers from overseas in the past, but with the interest of the Asian Le Mans Series I believe it will be the catalyst for continuing our open door policy for drivers and sponsors to also be part of the NASCAR model.
“One of my personal dreams has always been to get to Le Mans, and the ALMS is the first step.
“It will also help in the learning curve as we prepare for IMSA and the LMP2 series here in the States.”
The two-car Asian LMS entry will be in the P2-Am class for previous-generation LMP2 machinery, which will see Eurointernational’s Antonio Ferrari head up the program. Ware has also hired P1 Groupe’s Eric Burch to serve as RWR’s general manager of worldwide operations, which will see the team in action in “over 100 races” next year.
“The entire Eurointernational Team is excited to begin a global partnership with RWR,” said Ferrari. “The association with a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup brings new and important programs going forward.”
Cody Ware, the son of the team owner, will be a “fixture” in the program, with the 23-year-old set for his LMP2 debut in the four-round Asian LMS season.
“Making the step into the international racing scene has been a dream of mine since I was young,” said the NASCAR driver.
“To get the opportunity to work with Antonio and learn from him with all his success and knowledge really has me confident in building a future overseas.
“Driving in a prototype will be far from what I am familiar with the past few years in NASCAR, but I am at ease knowing that I will be working with one of the best in prototype racing and am confident in the success to come.”
Further details on the team’s planned WeatherTech Championship LMP2 entry have not been released, although would come at a significant boost to the category, which currently features only two full-season entries.