NEGRI: COTA Debrief

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Circuit of The Americas was our first ‘normal’ track this year with it being a 2 hour and 40-minute race and it’s just one of those places that I love coming back to. The track is just awesome to drive and it has a great variety of corners and a good flow to it.

I really worked hard to get prepared for this race at GPXLab and got good advice from my co-driver Jeff Segal as far as the GT line around the COTA track.

In practice we made good progress with the car set up. It is a great thing having a two car team because one car can go one way with the set up and the other car can take another route with the set up.

We’re able to test out two different set ups at the same time and learn from one another.

In qualifying on Friday, our Acura NSX GT3 felt well balanced. I was frustrated with myself because I super over drove it and really I thought our qualifying session could have been better.

I told my Michael Shank Racing guys that I liked the car and that we shouldn’t change anything.

In the race, we had a great strategy and we stuck to it.

Since we started a little further back then we had hoped to, we opted for an alternate strategy and I pitted early.

But after a full course yellow, all of the other teams pitted for fresh tires and I was still on my old ones. I had a great battle trying to hold off a line of GTD cars, it was a lot of work since they all had much newer tires than I did at that time. That was my proper baptism as far as racing and dicing with a GT car – and I liked it 🙂

Our strategy was playing out well and we were optimistic about our result. But all of our advantage went away with the full course yellow because the competition gained back all the gap we had made.

I did about an hour and 40 minutes in the car and the temperature was rising, I am glad I train as much as I do!

Jeff got in the car for the final run and again did just a phenomenal job. COTA is his track. He had to save a lot of fuel in the end and he was still producing great lap times.

It was a hard fought P11 but we are getting there. So much work has been put into this program and everyone at Michael Shank Racing has been doing everything we can and giving it our all.

Hard work works and the result will come.

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