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BRAUN: COTA Debrief

Colin Braun checks into Sportscar365 following COTA…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

It felt great to be back on the top step at COTA. I feel like everyone on the team did a great job and we had a good result.

Honestly though, I’ve never been one of those guys that’s a massive celebrator. I feel like winning races is our job. It’s what we get paid to do.

Right after the race, we all sat down and talked about things we could do different and do better. We’re never satisfied no matter how much we win by or how much we lose by. We always want to do better the next race.

It was cool to have my dad on board and in the pit stand. We get along really well and we’ve worked together in the past with different teams and it always worked really smooth.

Sometimes working with your family can be complicated, but for us it’s actually a bit easier because we get along really well and have a lot of respect for each other.

So Jon did a great job in his stint at COTA before handing the car over to me. Right about when I took the lead, the power steering died out.

I got on the radio and let the guys know and I was very excited to hear them say ‘no problem, we’ll come up with a plan, don’t worry about it. Standby.’

I kept driving, knowing that it was unlikely they could fix it, but holding on to the idea that they had a plan and were going to fix it at the next pit stop, which was only 20 minutes away. I could hang on for 20 minutes.

Then, they came back with the plan, which was ‘we can’t fix it, just stay out there and keep driving.’ I was pretty disappointed in that grand plan of theirs… It kinda sounded like no plan to me.

I couldn’t argue with them though. I’ve raced enough and have enough mechanical knowledge to know that the problem wasn’t fixable within the race. It was really fun though, for those 10 minutes, thinking they had a plan and everything was going to be okay!

Without power steering, it’s really challenging just to physically turn the steering wheel, now combine that with the downforce our cars make and the amount of grip that we have in the tires!

There were definitely some corners that were tougher than others. The Esses, for example, where you’re left-right, left-right, back and forth, are pretty physically challenging. It’s very demanding on your arms and chest.

We were leading the race and they kept giving me the gap to second place and we kept getting further away, so it was hard to argue that it was slowing me down.

At one point I did ask for my dad to stop telling me how many minutes were left. I asked him to switch to laps. The laps were more motivating than hearing the minutes tick away so slowly.

The COTA result was definitely a big help for us points-wise going into Road Atlanta. I’m one of those guys that just wants to focus on the race and I think having a bigger lead will help all of us do that.

Petit Le Mans is a race that I personally have not won. It always seems to be an okay race for us or a cruel race for us. Hopefully, next week we can check it off the list.

The crew tells me the power steering will work fine. I told them we’ve now won two races without power steering, so maybe we should take it off the car and save the weight. Then at least it’s not a big surprise.

I guess maybe for a 10-hour race that might be a bit extreme though…

Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, currently racing with CORE autosport in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

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