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KOLKMANN: Learning the Hard Way

David Kolkmann checks into Sportscar365 to recap the recent Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama round at Watkins Glen…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

I traveled to Watkins Glen with two victories in my bag after the last two race weekends in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

I actually tested the Park Place GTD car at Watkins Glen a couple of weeks before the race, so I got to know the track and felt quite comfortable. The cup car requires a different driving style, but I had no problems adjusting myself to the different feel.

So, my goal was to add some more trophies and wins to the past couple of successful weekends In Barber and Mid-Ohio.

Unfortunately, this was a bit more difficult than expected because of rain during the practice day. It rained off and on all day, but it seemed as soon as we would roll out to pit lane the sky would open up.

Even though I finished P1 in the first practice, I knew that we had to do some setup work with the cup car. We couldn’t really do that in the rain and the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was dry and very warm and sunny.

All this forced us to start qualifying without any practice and setup work in dry weather conditions.

We improved every lap and finished P4 which was still okay, but apparently not where we wanted to be ultimately. All the focus has been shifted to the first race after qualifying, and we tried everything to adjust the car in the right way.

I don’t really have much to say about the first race. I mean, my start was very good because I managed to overtake two cars and went from P4 to P2 after the first two corners, but it was tough to stay on this position because we struggled with some issues with the tires. I already knew that it will be a hard race after the first lap, but I tried everything I could to stay with the leaders.

In the end, we had to be happy with P4 because that was the maximum we could do in the race.

Luckily, we were able to find out what went wrong in Race 1, so we had a clear understanding of what to improve and change for Race 2.

Even though we finished the second race in P4 again, I felt like we made the right adjustments and I was able to push more and stay close to the leaders. I fought for the podium, but every time I started to attack the cars in front of me I had to slow down because of yellow flags and a lot of safety cars. We only had four or five race laps in this race which was a bit frustrating.

However, that’s how it was, and our progress makes me feel confident for the next couple of race weekends. I know it’s hard to win every weekend, but we learned it the hard way at Watkins Glen, and that will make us stronger in the future.

I’m already back in Europe now, and I had a fitness performance diagnostic in Cologne yesterday. I’m happy with the results of the test, and I actually started a fitness camp with my partner FTRC (Fast Track Racing Center) on a small little Island called “Langeoog” in the northern part of Germany today.

I will go on holiday to Austria next week to relax and recharge the batteries, followed by a week of coaching on some cool European racetracks. I will also use a simulator to get to know Road America and VIR so I will be prepared in the best way possible.

See you at Road America!

David Kolkmann (@KolkmannDavid) is German driver competing in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series with Park Place Motorsports.

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