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BRAUN: Lime Rock Debrief

Colin Braun files latest Sportscar365 debrief after Lime Rock Park…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

I’m glad we had the chance to go back to Lime Rock. It’s a fun racetrack. It’s tight and twisty and short, which to me, makes it fun and enjoyable. That aspect of going to tracks like that once a year is fun.

We go to a lot of places that are open and wide and maybe easier to pass, but I like the compressed nature of Lime Rock and having to be heads up and look as far ahead as possible to know what’s coming traffic-wise. I appreciate having that mental challenge of being on top of your game.

The track is certainly better to drivers with a good understanding of the ebb and flow of traffic. Maybe I’m fortunate that among the current group of PC drivers, I’m one of the few that have driven GT cars recently.

I was able to experience the GT side of things in the CORE Porsche two years ago. I understand what those guys are going through and that they have their own battle going on.

We have to work together to both be fast. There’s definitely some give and take on both ends and I think having some experience in GT cars helps at very traffic-dependent tracks like Lime Rock.

Lime Rock actually reminds me a whole lot of Bristol. Bristol is always a track I enjoyed going to when I raced in NASCAR, but it was always very tough mentally and you didn’t have any time to rest.

You had to work and look forward and be smart and really be able to tell what kind of traffic you were going to encounter. It was a place where you had to be on your game. For me, there are a lot of similarities between Bristol and Lime Rock.

I wasn’t so happy about only the PC and GTD classes being at Lime Rock though. Personally, I think sportscar racing is confusing enough with all the classes we have and when you add in that some classes only go to certain tracks, it makes it more confusing for the fans.

Is the entire TUDOR group at Lime Rock too many cars on track? Probably, but everyone’s in the same boat and we all have to work through it. It would be exciting for the fans; there’d be a lot of bumping and banging and people scrapping for all they can get.

I prefer to see the whole group always together for continuity’s sake for the fans and the people that only have an opportunity to come to Lime Rock.

We started things off right with a really solid first practice. We got off the trailer and were pretty quick. We made some changes that helped the car a bit in the first practice and then in the second practice, we were okay.

It was really close lap-time wise, we were only a tenth and a half from being the quickest car, so when you go to a race track like Lime Rock where you’re working sub 50-second laps, certainly it compresses the deltas to the other guys. Half a second at a normal track is a tenth or two at Lime Rock.

In the second practice we struggled to get ahold of the racetrack. I think the fact that we went directly after the Continental Tire Series every session and we’d never done that before caused the racetrack to change in a way we had trouble keeping up with. I feel like we fell a little bit behind in the second practice.

Qualifying was messy for the PC group. It was hard to get a read on why we ended up where we did because of the incident and the shortened time and we had a little bit of rain once we got back going. It was hard to read into our pace because of that.

In the race, we had the fastest race lap and a solid race car. We just weren’t able to get back on the lead lap.

I recall quite a bit of buildup offline. I’m not sure if that was a factor of having the Continental Tire race before us and then the track wasn’t cleaned? It seemed like a lot of build up offline and it was easy to get it on the tires.

Jon did a great job in his opening stint. There were some different strategies going on with the JDC guys qualifying their pro driver and then putting in their silver driver later. It was hard to see how it was all going to play out.

It was definitely challenging on a little bullring track like that. When you have that much traffic to deal with, it’s easy to lose a second or two and then you only have a 50-second lap to try and make it back up.

Our points margin has shrunk, but I don’t think for us it is any concern. We’ve obviously been through it before.

We’ve won championships and we know what to do; we have to keep racing the way we have been and be smart, make good choices and win races.

I felt like we were in a position to win at Lime Rock car performance-wise, but the cards didn’t fall our way and the strategy didn’t work out and we finished fourth.

It’s not easy winning these championships. We’ll just keep our heads down and keep working to get better. I don’t think any of us are phased by this. We knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park to win a fifth championship.

Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, driving for Meyer Shank Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.


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