Travel. Some people love it, some people hate it. I suppose I fit somewhere in the middle.
As a race car driver, it is something we all have to deal with on a weekly basis, often living out of a suitcase for months at a time.
It’s an aspect of being a race car driver that I rarely see discussed, so for this month’s column, I’ll shed some light into what it’s like to travel from the west coast of Canada week in and week out.
When it comes to traveling for racing, the goal is simple. Get from point A to point B in as little time as possible.
As most of the racing in North America happens in the eastern part of the continent, travel days are often exactly that, a full day.
A typical race weekend travel day starts with a 4 a.m. wakeup call and an hour drive to Vancouver International Airport. While still half asleep, I stumble onto the first of what is usually two flights to catch another few hours of shut eye.
I’ve yet to master this, so any tips on how to remain comfortable sleeping upright would be greatly appreciated!
Every so often I’m lucky enough to be called up to first class as a result of years of flying with the same airline. No free alcohol for me however as its usually 6 a.m. at this point and race weeks are a time to hydrate and prepare for maximum performance!
By the time the wheels touch down it’s typically 4 or 5 hours later in either Chicago or Houston. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve walked through the Chicago airport neon tunnel. The music is burned into my head… If only the moving walkways actually worked!
Now that I’m awake it’s time for lunch and to catch the next flight to wherever the race is.
Typically, another 2 to 3-hour flight and then an hour or two drive from that airport to the race track. All in all, it’s usually a solid 12 hours door-to-door, combined with the 3-hour time change, there’s just enough time left in the day to grab some dinner and hit the hay.
When it’s time to come home, the same process is reversed. The view as I return to Vancouver is always spectacular and something I look forward to. A window seat is a must!
As a result of racing Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in two championships this season and coaching at Area 27, days at home are few and far between. It’s precious time to recharge for the next race and catch up with family and friends.
Travel for pleasure purposes has a significantly different feel, although the thought of anything other than a direct flight isn’t very attractive!
This makes road trips very appealing, and it just happens that the warmest place in Canada is only a 3.5 hour drive.
The lake town of Osoyoos, BC has become one of my favorite recharge spots when a quick getaway is needed! (Hence the wake surfing videos if anyone follows my Instagram stories)
The next race on the calendar is this weekend at Watkins Glen International! The next Blancpain GT World Challenge America race takes place a full 85 days since the last race.
Given the busy IMSA WeatherTech schedule over the summer, it actually works very well, allowing multiple drivers to compete in both championships.
Our Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R won the last race at Sonoma and last year’s race at Watkins Glen was a very memorable one, making this a weekend to look forward to!