Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week, Trent Hindman reflects on his 2014 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge class championship and the impact of that series on his career.
How significant is your 2014 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship in your list of career achievements?
“It’s right at the very top. 2014 feels like such a long time ago but all of the same memories and emotion that came along with winning the GS championship are still fresh as ever.
“Being my first full season of running in GS and GT cars in general, working with John Edwards and the incredible group of people at Trim-Tex and Fall-Line Motorsports, and having to fight through our fair share of adverse situations made the end result genuinely hard to believe.
“The history books unfortunately show John and I separated in our year-end championship position, which still bothers me to some extent since the guy really took me under his wing, taught me a ton, and absolutely drove his tail off all year in order to help us bring home the title.”
What were your expectations going into that season?
“Once I had received the call that I’d be driving a Fall-Line prepared BMW and my co-driver’s name was mentioned, I knew the pressure was on me to step up and perform.
“I cannot say there were any expectations to win a championship, or at least there was not any from my end, but I knew that I needed to really take advantage of the situation and learn as much as I possibly could.
“Not often does an opportunity come around that’s as strong as that was, so in hindsight, I believe the team was destined to achieve good results throughout 2014.
“My expectations fell into the category of learning to become the most well rounded endurance racing driver I possibly can be.”
Was there a turning point in that season? If so, what was it?
“I believe there were multiple! We were up, we were down, up again… I’m pretty sure the championship lead changed hands at least three or four times throughout that season.
“We were fighting unbelievably tough competitors in Stevenson Motorsports, Chevrolet, Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, and they wanted it just as bad as we did.
“At the end of the day the drive and desire displayed by the entire Fall-Line Motorsports team carried us through on those not so ideal races and ultimately the championship was won by maximizing points haul on the bad days.
“The a specific turning point, I’d say, was the win at COTA in the rain, which is what regained the championship lead after losing it earlier on during the summer swing.
“That, combined with an absurdly stressful situation of failing to get a qualifying lap and having to start dead last in the final race of the season, the one that would ultimately decide who the champions were going to be, and running all the way up to a podium result for the championship victory was the climax of the season.”
How has Continental Tire Challenge helped shape your career?
“Continental and the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge was the platform that helped, and still helps me make a name for myself in the GT world of motorsport.
“I often think about how making the transition from single seaters to GT cars at such an early stage in my career seemed like such a massive risk, but now I can look back and reflect on all of the opportunities that have been provided to me through being a competitor in Continental Tire Challenge.
“Continental Tire has given me and so many other drivers an incredible platform to transition into turning this sport into a full-time career.
“Even up to this day, possibly now more than ever, the series continues in proving to be a base where young drivers like myself can continue working up the ladder in IMSA and the sports car racing world in general.”
What will your lasting memories be of working with the people from Continental Tire and racing in the series that bears its name?
“I think the memory is one of profound levels of effort by everybody at Continental Tire to make the ‘Conti’ series one of the best for teams, drivers, and manufacturers to compete in as well as creating some of the most thrilling door to door racing on the planet.
“Taking what was already a competitive formula eight years ago and constantly improving upon that idea has not only kept this championship alive, but also has made the 2018 edition of Continental Tire Challenge one of the strongest yet.
“I’ll gladly admit that I’ll be pretty bummed when the final Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race comes to a close at Road Atlanta. It’s the end of an era and a phenomenal one at that.”