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HARRISON: Teamwork Crucial to Success

Ashton Harrison files her latest Sportscar365 column following NOLA victory…

Photo: Racers Edge Motorsports

Teamwork is to crucial to success, not only in racing but in business and in life.

Teamwork includes all of the crew members, engineers, coaches on the radio or in debrief meetings, the hospitality providing nutrition and hydration, the support staff providing graphics for social and making sure our gear gets to the right session at the right time.

All these people need to work together seamlessly on the minute-by-minute details while focusing on the long terms goals to achieve success.

Teamwork is vital for Harrison Contracting Company to provide quality results to all our customers. HCC works closely with each customer to develop every project together; from their yearly multi-site repaint program or a specialty project for their new building.

Our relationships evolve and grow over time and each step takes us closer to exceeding our customers expectations.

In a weekend like we had at NOLA Motorsports Park, teamwork was the key to our success overall and to my performance as a driver.

With another series scheduled for the same event, my time in a race car essentially doubled, with additional practices, two separate qualifying sessions and four races between Racers Edge Motorsports and Wayne Taylor Racing.

Working with both programs prepared me to maximize my knowledge and ability, both physically and mentally, to do so much work over the course of those five days.

I had to adjust to the characteristics of the different cars: horsepower, braking style, aero balance… the list goes on.

Photo: Keith Rizzo/SRO

All the information I gathered during each stint was enhanced with input from my engineers and teammates.

Relying on my teammates, each car was prepared before every stint so I could just jump right in and hit the throttle, but in between those sessions I had to juggle debriefings, which sometimes happened on group chats, many golf carts trips between the two paddocks and all while trying to refuel my body and getting some rest.

Every track on the season schedule is different, and we’ve already encountered two that I’d never raced before, Sonoma and NOLA.

That requires us as drivers to come prepared. For me that includes track maps, in-car video, simulator training, track walks and for places like NOLA (and up-coming VIR, too) a lot of endurance and heat training.

The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Pro-Am field is so competitive and getting stronger every event, so we have to constantly be on our toes and study every nuance of the data and car set up to increase our performance each time we’re in the car.

The Am drivers like myself are getting really amazing opportunities to drive with such strong competition, whether we’re mixing it up with the Pros or in a session with other Ams.

There’s no time to let up, no matter who is on track with you. The pressure is always on, but that pressure and competition is making me a better driver with each stint in the No. 93 Harrison Contracting Company Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. And if you really know me, I actually enjoy the pressure.

Photo: Racers Edge Motorsports

Leading up to our first win of the year, our progression over the last four events have been drastic. I’ve gotten more comfortable adjusting to the various elements as I’ve gotten more seat time, combined with input from Mario, Jim Pattin (the Racers Edge engineer) and Tom Long.

All of this talent I’m racing against really brings out my competitive nature and all I want is to be on the top step of that podium.

The Acura machine is just such a fantastic car to drive and HPD has provided us with a solid platform on which to build our success.

There is no accurate way to describe the atmosphere inside the car with over 16 sessions in 90+ degree heat. I can tell you that athletic training and preparation is paramount to performances in similar conditions that will continue through the summer.

Cockpit temperatures climbed to triple digits with little to no airflow, even with the cloud cover on Sunday.

Drivers must be strong mentally as well as physically because when you get to the point that your body doesn’t think it can do anymore, your brain must take over. You’re constantly balancing the mental acuity to drive a race car with the stamina to push your body beyond the limits it thinks you can handle.

And push we did. To a second place in Race 1 and our first victory of the season in Race 2 (& P2 overall). That cold champagne sure tasted good, and Mario was kind enough to cool me off by spraying all his champagne on me.

To date, I’ve competed in five GTWCA races with one overall win, 2 class wins, one pole position and 2 second place finishes. All with my teammate Mario, I’d say we’re off to a good start.

Ashton Harrison is a HPD Junior Factory Driver competing with Racers Edge Motorsports in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS as well as selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races with Racers Edge with WTR.

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