Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images
Billy Glavin is downright giddy these days, but who can blame him?
The 37-year-old owner of Jr III Racing is happy because his No. 30 Ligier JS P320 leads the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP3 standings thanks to back-to-back second-place finishes.
Not a bad start for a team making its first bid for a WeatherTech Championship LMP3 title. Jr III Racing did run two tune-up races in 2021, which included a runner-up finish in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
This year, Jr III (pronounced “Junior Three”) is running the entire six-race LMP3 points schedule with hopes of earning the crown.
Glavin skipped the Rolex 24 At Daytona for two simple reasons. First and foremost, he didn’t want to stress his team.
“Frankly, we weren’t ready for it,” Glavin says. “That race is such a big undertaking.”
Secondly, the 24-hour race does not award WeatherTech Championship points.
Instead, in its 2022 debut in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, the No. 30 Ligier wheeled by Garett Grist, Ari Balogh and Dakota Dickerson finished second to Sean Creech Motorsport.
In their second outing in the Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio, Grist and Balogh took runner-up honors behind CORE Autosport.
“The overall feeling inside the team is great,” Grist said. “Everyone is happy with the success we’ve had in our short time, and everybody is hard at work to continue that success.”
They’d better. The LMP3 class is a flaming octagon ring of competition. With Riley Motorsports – the defending class champs – winning the Rolex 24, there have been three winners in as many LMP3 races this season.
The competition is fierce, yet Grist, Balogh and Jr III Racing lead in points by 27 over Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and CORE. Glavin’s game plan is working with Round 3 on the horizon at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen set for June 23-26 at Watkins Glen International.
Garett Grist celebrates at Mid-Ohio. Jake Galstad/Motorport Images
Glavin, who worked for NASCAR powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports for five years before starting his own “racing deal” in Mooresville, North Carolina, says he welcomes the fierce competition.
“We are there to race,” he said. “Most of my guys might be new to IMSA but most of my guys are veteran racers. A lot of them are actually NASCAR guys, where you’re in a fight every weekend. That’s what my guys are used to and that’s what they like about racing.”
In addition to the WeatherTech Championship LMP3 entry, Glavin has two full-time Ligiers in the IMSA Prototype Challenge plus a shop full of vintage cars raced in a variety of events, including in the IMSA Historic Sportscar Racing series. Glavin got into racing thanks to managing customer cars.
“I have been very fortunate to have the customers and drivers who want to keep going with us,” Glavin said. “It’s been great. What I have been careful to watch, as we grow each step, that we don’t lose what we did to get there. I feel that’s easy to do in this world, as you get bigger and bigger and start losing a lot of yourself and what made you successful to begin with.”
Glavin wears many hats as a team owner with 12 full-time employees, but his “fun time” is when he gets behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and hauls a load of race cars to a track.
“I joke with people that I started a race team because I like to drive race cars and work on race cars – and now I do neither,” he said with a laugh. “Driving a hauler is something I still do and, frankly, love doing because it’s one of the few times which I can be by myself, driving down the road, relaxing.”
But competitors be warned. You may see Glavin with a big smile when he parks that hauler in the paddock but he has a burning desire for success.
“Billy is the ultimate racer and competitor,” Grist said. “He’s a racer’s racer. He likes to win.”