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DICKINSON: Headed Back to Road Atlanta

Riley Dickinson checks in ahead of this weekend’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama triple-header…

Photo: Supplied

The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama returns to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for Rounds 10, 11, and 12 this weekend during the Motul Petit Le Mans event.

The Moorespeed team and I couldn’t be more ready to be back on track and get back to work! 

Our previous event was at Mid-Ohio a couple of weekends ago. As a team we had a good weekend, although it was not quite the result we were looking for.

Bottom line, we all learned from it and moved on. More the reason to be looking forward to being back at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

During the gaps between our events this season, I’ve had the opportunity to get more involved with my local Porsche Club of America region which is Hill Country encompassing Austin, Texas. 

As I have mentioned before, the PCA Hill Country Region and I formed a partnership earlier this year and as a result they have been supportive of my 2020 racing season.

Since we announced our partnership, I wanted to figure out ways to give back and help the club. 

Photo: Supplied

Throughout the years I have never shied away from where it all began, which was the local kart track in my hometown of New Braunfels, Tex. Whether it’s been to compete in a race, have fun with the community on the weekends, or to just simply decompress from a stressful event.

Being at the local track continues to be important to me. As part of that, the one piece that has always been my favorite thing to do is teaching and working with the young drivers. 

For a while, my “help” would be a casual conversation on race or practice days, pointing out areas where they could improve and then how to execute.

About a year and a half ago, I began to formalize the process, and found ways to provide actual “coaching” for these drivers.

A vast majority of the drivers that I’m working with at the kart track are kids. The youngest one is Paxton Dyson. He is six years old, about to be seven, and quite honestly one of my favorite kids to work with.

He is one of those who always has his helmet in hand, pushing his dad to go to the track all the time, and he puts in a ton of work.

Whether it’s Pax or any of the other kids that I coach, I truly enjoy seeing them energized from successful sessions on track.

It’s motorsports at the grassroots level and paying it forward to this group is something I relish being a part of. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today if I didn’t have people do the same with me eleven years ago when I first started racing.

Photo: Supplied

As you may remember, earlier this year I spent some time with the Porsche Track Experience at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. as an intern to learn about more about their program, and to assist in any areas that I could. 

Later this month and again in November, the Hill Country Region PCA is hosting Solo HPDE events at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

Just like in karting, I will be giving back to the club through assisting as one of the Hill Country Region’s driver instructors.

I’m very much looking forward to both these events and having the opportunity to work with my fellow Porsche Club of America members.

Also, I can’t wait to continue spreading awareness of Porsche Motorsport North America, and more specifically their involvement with the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, to many more Porsche car enthusiasts!

Due to the condensed 2020 season schedule, I have been spending quite a bit of time at the Moorespeed shop in Austin, helping the guys prepare for our upcoming races.

As part of this, it has given me the opportunity to gain a much better understanding of the mechanical aspects of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

Photo: Riley Dickinson

It’s actually been pretty cool to learn the other side of racing that’s off the track, meaning the preparation that goes into getting the car ready for an outing on track.

Everything from simple fluid changes to setting up scale pads and adjusting the setup of the car. Very interesting and I have learned a lot.  

The piece that I think has been beneficial to me as far as my performance on track has been doing the setups at the shop.

I have gotten a much better understanding of all setup changes, but more importantly how they mechanically affect the handling of the car. Also, when I’m on track for the first session, I know exactly what to expect because more often than not, I helped put the setup on the car.

Sometimes they make me do actual work too. Last week, I felt quite accomplished when I took apart a damaged front bumper and assembled a new one as a spare. Rumor has it may have been because I slightly wrinkled the old one…

Our previous outing at Mid-Ohio was the first of two triple header formatted weekends for the season. This weekend at Road Atlanta is our second triple header event.   

At some level, all tracks are mentally and physically demanding on drivers. However, there are a few that are simply elevated above the rest.

Road Atlanta is hands down one of those places. This has always been one of my favorites, and I’m excited about the extra race being thrown in.

This year I have put a huge emphasis on my physical conditioning, and I know that I’m physically up for the challenge and can’t wait to get the weekend underway!

Riley Dickinson (@RileyD253) is the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, competing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Moorespeed.

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