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SKEER: Monterey Debrief

Elliott Skeer checks into Sportscar365 following Rennsport Reunion…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

The Garden of Eden exists, and it’s called the Porsche Rennsport Reunion V.

I’ll start this one off by saying that I have been waiting for RRV since RRIV took place four years ago. At that time, I was just getting out of go-karts and into Spec Miata.

Now if you told me that four years later, I would be racing and clinching a Porsche title at RRV, I would not believe you. This would be the case, though.

After an eventful set of races at COTA the week before, I had a 25-point lead with 40 up for grabs at Rennsport. Things were looking in my favor. I could try and manage the situation, but this was the biggest Porsche event in the world, and I wanted to win it.

I showed up two days early after a five-hour motorhome drive from my house in San Diego. Arriving at the track around 10 a.m. Thursday, I spent the entire day staring and drooling over every Porsche in sight.

I will admit racing at Rennsport is a little bittersweet: It meant that less time was spent just being a Porsche fan and taking it all in, but at the same time, this could be the biggest weekend of my life.

On Friday, it was time to get into the car. The two practice sessions did not exactly go to plan. I was off pace in some corners, and the car was not responding well to my inputs.

I believe I made something like nine pit stops in the two sessions for car setup changes. By the end of the second session, the car and my driving were in a much better place. I felt ready for qualifying the next morning.

I was able to check something off my bucket list Friday night, though. Remember the Porsche 917-042 I talked about in my post-COTA blog? Well, it was at Rennsport, completely unrestored from the 1971 season, and looking so amazing.

After some talks with friends at Porsche Motorsport North America, I wandered into its garage at 7 p.m. Just the car, a friend from PMNA and me. He soon popped the door open and told me to hop in.

I hopped in trying to mimic the changes during “Le Mans” while not damaging anything. I’m soon sitting in my favorite racing car of all time with the door closed. It’s truly humbling to see the excuse for a roll cage above you and think the car went 247 mph.

After about five minutes, I hopped out, gave a hug and biked back to my RV still wondering if that just happened. The bucket list just became one item shorter, with the possibility of making it even shorter the next day.

On Saturday, qualifying and race one. Stickers on the car, a cool morning qualifying. It was go-fast time. I drove the car to the limit and felt good with my time, but I did not know if it was pole or P5. After the session ended, my team told me I was on another double pole, by .5 of a second! Boy, was I feeling ready for the race now!

Race time. If Jesse Lazare won, I needed P8 to clinch the title. That thought was nowhere in my head as the green dropped. I wanted to win. I opened up a gap early, and I was feeling good.

A caution halfway through the race brought that five-second lead to zero. As we went back to green, I extended it back out and just put my head down.

A flag-to-flag victory was the sweetest way to clinch the title. It was, by far, the best race this season.

It was over, I clinched it. Hard to describe the feeling, really. I was so happy/relieved/excited, but I don’t think it really showed externally. I was calmer than I thought I would have been.

Just so many thoughts running through my head, so many people to thank, so much had to go right, and it all did. I was finally able to say, “Mission Accomplished.”

I celebrated by staring at 917s and 956s for the next few hours. Alone, I was able to appreciate it all and take it all in. I think I walked around for an hour without saying a word, but with a million thoughts inside my head.

I won’t go into much detail for race two, but it was appallingly bad. Don’t get me wrong: I wanted to win just as bad, but nothing went right. It all really ended with oil in Turn 6. I ended up in the sand and was towed out. I finished 23rd, but I finished, and all was still OK in my world.

That was it. Season over. Goals accomplished, and progress made. I grew as a person and as a driver this season, and I have many people to thank for this.

John Wright and Wright Motorsports, for their support and for accepting me into the family this season. None of this would be possible without John and his team.

Jens Walther and PMNA, for my participation in the Young Driver Academy and the scholarship to race in the GT3 Cup this year. Their belief in me this season has been humbling and an honor.

Fred Chin, for his selflessness in getting me to this point in racing. None of this would have been possible without him.

Tim Skeer, my dad, has put up with me for 21 years now, and I have nothing but thanks for everything he has done for me.

DirtFish and Town Porsche, for their support this season. It has been great fun having them on the car this season.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! My season is not over just yet! Some VERY cool stuff happening soon … Stay tuned.

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