The brakes. Man did I miss the feeling of the brakes in our Acura ARX-05.
Both Juan (Pablo Montoya) and I were laughing after the first session back on track in Daytona about standing on the brakes into Turn 1 for the first time and how we ended up face down looking at the seatbelts.
You forget how good these cars are and how great it felt be out of the sim and back in the real thing, feeling G forces again.
Overall our weekend in Daytona was OK. I think we were honestly a little more competitive than we expected and Helio (Castrnoeves) did a great job in qualifying to be on pole.
But in the race the Mazdas were on another planet, so we tried to maximize what we had and try not to give points away.
It honestly felt great to be back in the paddock and working with the team again. Obviously, things are different now and it felt a bit weird to be staying away from everyone, missing that social and camaraderie aspect that makes our sport special, but I think everyone is just happy to be back.
I also want to say IMSA did a great job with the new entry process; I was really impressed with how quick and efficient it was so hats off to them for all the work they put into it.
Also even more importantly, there were finally port-o-johns behind every pit box in pit lane! I can’t even begin to describe how much better that is and it’s one part of the new protocol that I hope stays forever! Nothing is more stressful than having to run five boxes down to hit the bathroom one more time the after hydrating all day and be back in time for the driver change!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of introducing four young drivers to the Acura NSX GT3 Evo through the first ever HPD GT3 Academy at Road Atlanta.
It’s a really cool program that is allowing drivers to gain experience and knowledge about the NSX GT3 as well as sports car racing in general, away from the pressures of a pro level race weekend.
We had Karl Wittmer, Jacob Abel, Taylor Hagler and Dakota Dickerson, all who had never been in a GT3 car before.
Everyone did a great job getting up to speed and learning the ins and outs of the car, nobody put a foot wrong and they were on the pace by day two!
It was a fun few days at the track with Ryan Eversley and cool to be working with my first ever full time sports car team in Racers Edge Motorsports who I raced with back in 2009. That was also the last time I raced the Summer race at Daytona! Twilight zone stuff.
Sebring is up next in a just over a week’s time, and if you have ever been to central Florida in July you know it will be a hot one. Or very wet. Or both.
Definitely both. I think we can be a little more competitive there and I am excited to be going back after getting my first pole with Acura Team Penske there last year. In the meantime, more miles on the bike and laps in the kart in the North Carolina heat to get ready!