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KOLKMANN: Road America and the Roads of America

Park Place Motorsports’ David Kolkmann files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Park Place Motorsports

I was excited for Road America because I knew we would have a better performance then at Watkins Glen a few weeks before.

As mentioned in my last column, I prepared myself mainly in the simulator from the Fast Track Racing Center in Lohne, Germany.
If you want to check out a video of this preparation, head over to my Instagram page and have a look at the video on my feed.

I traveled to the U.S. on Tuesday before the race weekend. One of the Park Place Motorsports mechanics picked me up in his GMC Suburban, which was built in 1966. Such a cool and classic car and it was eye-catching neon green.

We decided to start the next day with mini golf before going to the race track where we had to build up the tent and everything we needed for the race weekend. I always enjoy to help the team, so I help whenever I can.

Next up was the driving part of the weekend.

Photo: Park Place Motorsports

On Thursday and Friday, we had the free practice sessions where we had to do a lot of setup work to get the maximum out of the car. We made some proper steps in the right direction, so It was interesting to see how we could perform in the qualifying session.

In the end, it was only P5 which was a bit disappointing. It felt like my laps were pretty good, but we missed a couple of tenths to P1 which we wanted to find. That meant we had to try some setup adjustments for the races.

The first race wasn’t spectacular. I finished in the same position where I started, but I had some cool battles during the race.

I wasn’t happy after this race, so my team and I decided to make some more changes. We were pretty confident for the second race, so I couldn’t wait to go racing again.

We had one more (karting) race, on this day, and every driver from the GT3 USA championship was invited. We had a lot of fun crashing into each other and fighting for the podium.

If the race director would have seen this race, I’m pretty sure that all of us would have been banned for the next race. I actually managed to finish on the podium in the karting challenge, and every driver had a lot of fun. Great idea and event from Yokohama!

Photo: Park Place Motorsports

On the next day, everything was set for the second race. I knew that we had a good chance for the podium. Already the formation lap felt good, and all my focus was on a good start into the race.

At the start, I managed to go from P6 to P4 around the outside of Turn 1. From this point on I pushed the car to the maximum in every lap to overtake the two cars in front of me. I had to battle hard with them and finally managed to overtake both of them.

The first half of the race was very hard for the tires so I knew that I would have to deal with a nervous rear in the second half of the race.

From then on it was all about managing the pace and saving the tires. I had to fight hard to finish the race on P2. It was again very close on the last lap, but I managed to finish the race in the second place.

We were pleased about the weekend, and our goal for the next race is to have a better qualifying, so we can already start from the front and fight for the victory again.

Photo: Park Place Motorsports

Next up on the calendar is Virginia International Raceway. It looks like a great track, and I can’t wait to get there.

This time I will stay in America until the next race. I got asked to drive a Porsche Macan from Los Angeles to Dallas. I didn’t even have to think about it before saying yes.

I think it’s going to be a great experience and it’s also a great way to explore the country a bit more.

It will be a long trip halfway through the states, and it will take me probably two days. You will find out more about this road trip and my experiences on the way in my next column, so stay tuned. It will be interesting! Follow my Instagram stories as well.

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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