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DERANI: Around the World in 30 Days

Pipo Derani files his latest Sportscar365 column following last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

It has been a crazy busy time of the year recently with so much packed into such a short space of time.

It all actually makes me feel quite humble because I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing racing in a variety of different great sports cars and on so really incredible race tracks.

In May I managed to get a few days off and went down to the South of France, which was beautiful. My wife Marina and I had a great time in a country I have come to love after spending so much time there when I worked with the Onroak organization.

June started as it was meant to go on by dashing across the Atlantic from the Detroit IMSA race where Felipe [Nasr] and I finished second and extended our lead the points standings.

We had just a matter of hours to then get from Belle Isle to the Le Mans Test Day where I was getting my first acquaintance of the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

Photo: Filipe Albuquerque

There were a bunch of us that chartered a plane which made really efficient sense considering there were so many drivers and personnel doing the same journey.

They say that camaraderie is not the same as the old days in racing but it was great to hang out with fellow competitors on that flight and have a laugh and just talk about different subjects and socialize for a few hours.

In addition to myself there was my Risi colleague Olly Jarvis and also Ricky Taylor, Felipe Albuquerque, Harry Tincknell, Pat Long, Jonathan Bomarito and a few others. It was a fun trip but what gets talked about at 30,000 feet stays at 30,000 feet!

Just prior that busy weekend I had already been over to Mugello to have a test in the Bentley Continental GT3 with which I will compete at the 24 Hours of Spa later this month

So by my estimates I was in a GT3, DPi and a GTE-Pro car all within a few days of each other in three different countries!

Photo: MPS Agency

So after the test day it was getting fully prepared for Le Mans and despite the best efforts of the Risi Competizione team and my teammates Jules Gounon and Oliver Jarvis, it was not meant to be for us as we hit a technical glitch but still has the satisfaction of making it to the chequered flag.

That meant the Watkins Glen weekend couldn’t come soon enough because it is a circuit I really enjoy after taking pole there in 2017.

The Whelen Engineering guys were again terrific over the weekend and we were hoping for a strong result but a puncture early in the race meant we went several laps down and couldn’t get any big points.

But it’s a testament to our strong season that we came away from it with just a one point deficit in the standings, so we still believe and we will still be pushing mighty hard for the title challenge.

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

So to Mosport this weekend and back-to-back IMSA events…

That track is a beast and one you always give respect because of its high-speed nature. It will be fun.

As I write this I am in Spa at the test day for the 24 Hours of Spa, so we kind of come full circle from where I started the column with me dashing all over the place!

I’ll be traveling over to Canada and getting ready for the race as you read this. One of the things I’m really looking forward to just after the weekend is heading up to see the Whelen factory in Connecticut.

That will be great to see their HQ and to meet some of the employees and see how they design and manufacturer their amazing products.

Hopefully by the time we get there we will be back in the lead of the championship and looking ahead to the second half of the IMSA season with renewed purpose.

Pipo Derani (@PipoDerani) is the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and three-time Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner, driving for Whelen Engineering Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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