Three months ago I was completely convinced that I would be a spectator for this season, and now I have just had the opportunity to partake in the busiest weekend of car racing ever in my career.
Pre-race weekend prep for me does not change entirely too much when running two different championships.
A bit more time studying data and video is absolutely necessary, but aside from that it’s business as usual.
The real fun started when the Thursday test day came around, where it was four practice sessions total – two for Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and two for Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America.
Schedules were tight and I was constantly worried about having enough time to properly debrief with one team then run over to the other and have enough time to cover our plan for the next practice.
Needless to say I was thrilled that I was getting to drive both a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, but I was most definitely worn out at the end of the day!
The whole crew at Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing along with the Bodymotion/Cassels Racing team really did their best to accommodate my tight schedule and I really can’t thank either group enough for that!
Qualifying day was much less hectic and I was happy to have some time to review data, video, and even do some driver change practice with my co-drivers in both championships.
Huge shoutout to Craig Duerson and Cameron Cassels for putting up with my constant disappearance from one camp to the other.
In recent times, qualifying day for Continental Tire Challenge has been a day where I don’t drive at all, but a huge positive of running two championships is the simple fact of more seat time.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the first 15 minute qualifier for Super Trofeo Race one was cut short by a red flag about six minutes into the session.
Luckily we were the first car out of pit lane at the start of the session, and that above all else is what gave me the opportunity to have one clear lap to put it on the pole.
Both Super Trofeo races were just one big learning experience for Craig and me. The structure of the series along with the pit lane/drive time rules are very new to both of us, and really we just wanted to keep the car in one piece while we both continue this learning process.
Race 1 was off to a great start and we were able to hold the lead overall throughout my short stint in the car.
Craig hopped in at about the 25-minute mark and had an excellent drive to bring us home 4th overall, 2nd in class – a fantastic way to kick off our season.
Race 2 was definitely a bit more nerve racking for both of us. Craig had qualified 4th in class, 10th overall and had moved up to 8th by the time he came in for our driver change.
Unfortunately we had lost a bit of time on pit lane and that had put us quite a way back from the leaders.
I had no idea at that time, so I just tried my best to do what I always do; put together a smooth, clean stint and drive like hell!
The radio was mostly silent for my stint until it was looking like we really had a shot at catching and passing the leader of the Pro-Am class before the end of the race.
We made the move for the lead with about 5 minutes remaining and we never looked back. That secured the first Super Trofeo win for Craig and me, along with a solid 3rd place finish overall… not bad for a bunch of rookies!
A massive thank you to the entire Lamborghini Paramus/Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing Team (boy, that’s a lot) for their weeks of hard work in preparing the cars and giving us two seriously great cars for race day.
One pole position, a second place in class, a win in class with an overall podium, and not to mention a second GS win in a row really made this a weekend to remember.
It was a great feeling hopping on the long flight back to New Jersey knowing that all of the hard work and preparation had paid off in a big way this time, but as soon as that flight landed it was back to work figuring out how we will go about achieving these results again.