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GONZALEZ: Taking One Day at a Time

Victor Gonzalez Jr. recaps VGMC Racing’s recent efforts in TC America, Michelin Pilot Challenge with HPD, Honda…

Photo: Chris Green

Everyone at VGMC Racing has been working non-stop on the 2021 season. After Daytona we prepared to start the TC America season in Sonoma.

It was a west coast trip and the beginning of our driver development program with HPD and Jose Blanco, who finished 2nd in the F4 championship last year.

Jose’s an excellent choice for me personally and we’ve been pushing hard to get him on-board.

To keep showing our commitment to HPD and Honda, we brought the Honda TC Type-R to the track this time as well, which I drove.

You can’t imagine the amount of work the guys put in to get the cars ready to travel 3,200 miles from our shop in Saint Cloud, Fla. to Sonoma, Calif. in order to make sure our program looks solid and showcases our potential.

VGMC Racing arrived at Sonoma and the TCA class HPD Civic Si was fast in the hands of JB. The same was the case for our TC class HPD Type-R.

We did the promoter test day and the guys were learning more about setups for JB and me getting used to the TC Type-R as I’ve been most recently driving the TCR Type-R, which is very different.

I was struggling a little bit because I’m used to a stiffer platform in the TCR, but the car was solid and fast for the race.

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

During practice we could see that JB was one of the fastest cars and it showed that he will be a driver that will be strong for the championship.

Unfortunately we got hit with BoP changes that put us a little behind in terms of race pace but JB still managed to get pole for Race 2 and finished P5. We were really happy with his performance and he’ll be strong this year.

On the TC side, I managed to qualify P4 and run strong in P3 until a steering link broke and I tagged the wall. That was the end of our race.

I’m so proud of the guys in getting the cars ready and always giving it their 100 percent. We learn every race and we will come back stronger for the next TC America round at COTA.

At COTA, we’ll be adding another HPD Civic Si under our tent for Sally McNulty.

She’s passionate about the sport and we want to help her effort. Nothing feels better than helping another Honda racer.

Photo: Victor Gonzalez Jr.

It wasn’t over! As soon as we arrived back at the shop from Sonoma, our focus changed over to our IMSA program, this time racing our TCR Type-R.

Ruben Iglesias and I had the driving duties for the second round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring.

For VGMC Racing, all of these tracks are new to us and we don’t have the data we need to work on setups. So we’re learning at every event with the same crew in this new environment.

It’s all about having patience and keep growing.

We had a small problem in first practice on the TPS that took away some track time. We were not able to try all of the changes we had in our plan but we found the problem.

Second practice started and I lost my left-front tire after all of the studs broke on Lap 3. My crew learned that we need to use less PSI in the air guns.

That put us behind our plan but we still pushed and used qualifying as a test session in order to give us the data we needed to start the race and have a better car.

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

We raced up to P4 and had a strong car for a top-five but unfortunately we had a couple of penalties that saw us finishing P11.

We have to use the beginning of the season to get used to IMSA racing and minimize the mistakes that take away from the results.

Now we are getting ready to go to Circuit of The Americas with TC America, then back to IMSA with Mid-Ohio a few weeks after that.

Yes we’re a small team but we will not stop. Our goal is to continue to make progress and show our commitment to growth.

I’ve learned that yo be successful you need to take one day at a time. If you get knocked down, no worries, get up again and keep going.

Victor Gonzalez Jr. is a Puerto Rican professional driver and team owner, currently competing in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with a Honda Civic Type R TCR.

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