JTR Launches Pirelli GT4 America Effort with Luca Mars & Peter Atwater

24 March 2023

A new program has taken shape for the SRO Pirelli GT4 America series under the banner of JTR Motorsports Engineering. While this will be a new effort overall for the Indiana-based team, the players and components that make up the program have many ties. JTR will field a Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry for long-time competitors and teammates Luca Mars and Peter Atwater!

Both drivers have competed against team principal Jared Thomas in the past in the IMSA Mazda MX5 Cup Series. As drivers, and as teammates at times, the duo raced under the JTR banner in various series from MX5 Cup to World Racing League. The chemistry and camaraderie came quickly as the pieces of the program were assembled.

Peter Atwater: I’m excited to get to run a new series with past teammates and crew! JTR is one of the best teams in the paddock - detail oriented and results driven. Luca Mars is a very talented driver and brings tons of GT4 experience to the team, plus he’s one of the most competitive young talents in any field. What’s not to like about this effort? I can’t wait for Sonoma! 

JTR has recently taken delivery of their Mercedes-AMG GT4 machines that the team will use and have been hard at work preparing the Nulite Lighting sponsored machines for their debut. While this will be the series debut for the team with the Mercedes-AMG brand, it is familiar territory for the team who fields an IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge entry under the same marque.

Jared Thomas: I’m excited to have Luca and Peter running together in the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Although this is a new SRO program for JTR, it is not a new car to us as we compete in IMSA with one as well. We also have great chemistry between the team and the drivers as we have competed together in other series over the past couple years in addition to racing against one another! Everything is lining up for a great start to the season and I look forward to getting it kicked off at Sonoma!

Pennsylvania’s Luca Mars and Colorado’s Peter Atwater first raced together in the MX5 Cup series as teammates over the 2021 season. The drivers became friends quickly and continued to race and work together in one off efforts over the last few seasons. While this opportunity came together on short notice over the last few weeks it has been an idea that was simmering for some time.  

Mars, a rising star in the GT4 ranks, has delivered wins, podiums and Pole positions across several series since his debut in 2022. From winning his TransAm debut and qualifying front row & leading his debut race in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in 2022 to qualifying Pole and leading flag to flag for the win in his first IMSA VP Challenge outing last month, Mars has proven himself as a quick learner and front running competitor.

Luca Mars: I’m looking forward to driving with Peter for the first time in SRO and getting to know the Mercedes-AMG GT4. I haven’t driven Sonoma before so that’s a new challenge for me but I’m looking forward to going for the win!

The new entry is set to contest a partial Pirelli GT America schedule leading off with the series opener at Sonoma Raceway followed by rounds at Virginia International Raceway in June, Road America in August and Sebring International Raceway in September. Additional events could be added to the calendar as schedules and commitments take shape.