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BAUMANN: Coming to America

3GT Racing’s Dominik Baumann files his first Sportscar365 column on his arrival in America…

Photo: Sideline Sports Photography/Lexus Racing USA

I started racing when I was 11 years old. Not because I wanted to, but because my parents thought I was too bored after school and needed something to do.

They sent me to a friend who ran a racing school for kids. Of course, I liked it. What young boy doesn’t like driving and going fast? But most kids start at 6 or 7-years old, I was a lot older.

But I kept racing. In 2011 I started racing sports cars. I was driving the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.

In 2012, I won the FIA GT3 European Teams’ Championship and then raced in the FIA GT series and ADAC GT Masters in 2014 and 2015.

Like all race car drivers, I would watch other races on the television and I knew I wanted to race in the United States.

My chance came last year when I was at the test in Daytona in December.

My manager had heard that 3GT Racing was looking for a driver. I thought it was the right time. I was ready for a new challenge.

I talked with Paul Gentilozzi, about 3GT Racing, I had the feeling that this was the right time for me to make the move to America.

Racing in America is not like it is in Europe. Being a professional driver is the same, being focused and knowing what you are supposed to do.

In Europe we would race two races each weekend. The races would be one-hour and I would share with another driver, so we would each drive for a half hour.

But the races in America, the atmosphere of the races, that is very different from Europe.

The beginning is not like anything I know. With the anthem and the jets flying overhead, the parachutes coming down, that’s not usual for racing in Europe.

When I saw it for the first time, at the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, my first race in the U.S., I was surprised. All the drivers together, the mechanics and the teams standing in front of the car, listening to the anthem, it was a bit goose-bumpy. Very patriotic.

And again, when we were in Sebring. It’s a different feeling, but a good feeling.

My family is excited for me to race in the U.S., too. They came to see me in Sebring.

There are some things I hope to do while I’m in America. I’d like to visit some big cities and I’d like to see a NASCAR race, just to see what it’s like.

I enjoyed racing in Europe. But I’m very happy I came to be part of the 3GT Racing team.

I like the Lexus RC F GT3 and feel like it’s a good fit for me. It was time for a new challenge, that was my reason for coming to America. And I’m glad I did.

Now I have that challenge to race in America, I’m excited about it. I think Kyle (Marcelli) and I work well together and I’m looking forward to racing in Mid-Ohio and every race after that because each race will be a new first time for me in America.

Dominik Baumann drives the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for 3GT Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The 2016 Blancpain GT Series champion and 2018 winner of the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai is in his first year of racing in the U.S.

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