Several days after scoring both his and the new Ford Shelby GT350R-C’s first win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Austin Cindric is relishing what he, co-driver Jade Buford and the Multimatic Motorsports team accomplished.
It took a few days for the 16-year-old to have it begin to sink in, though, after he held off the Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 en route to the overall Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win.
Cindric was initially at a loss for words on Saturday but as he told Sportscar365 after the fact, he’s now started to realize the magnitude of the victory.
“Yeah I kind of keep on reminding myself that it happened,” Cindric told Sportscar365. “I knew it was possible, but it would be quite hard to do. I had the right equipment behind me.”
Cindric was also placed into an abnormal role as the finishing driver at CTMP, rather than Buford.
Traditionally, Cindric has qualified the No. 158 Ford before handing over to Buford, but the roles were switched up at CTMP.
Cindric relied on the experience and insights of his co-drivers to handle the pressure of finishing in just his sixth career series start.
“It was a bit of a different focus, talking to Scott (Maxwell), Jade and Billy (Johnson) about that,” Cindric said.
“I knew I had to drive and make sure it came back in one piece, especially after Scott got taken out.
“The world was on my shoulders, to try to win for Multimatic at our home race. They had a couple hundred people at the track.”
In his first full-time CTSC season, Cindric has had to learn as much about setup and engineering feedback considering he’s part of a developmental program with the GS class’ newest car.
“We did a couple test sessions more or less to get me comfortable in the car in long runs,” Cindric said.
“Multimatic is a big engineering company, so I have to make sure my feedback is right for them, that I’m a driver that can help develop the car, the Shelby GT350R-C.”
The Multimatic role comes in the midst of what is still a hectic season for Cindric, as he also competes full-time in the Red Bull Global Rallycross GRC Lites series.
There’s no schedule clashes between the two except at Lime Rock next weekend, where logistics are planned to see Cindric balance both Lime Rock and Detroit, where GRC races.
He’s also driven at Bathurst in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, where he starred in qualifying, and is fresh off his ARCA stock car debut at Iowa Speedway this past weekend, where he finished fourth.
“You have to have the mindset to adapt, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said.
Cindric noted Bathurst, CTMP and his rain drive at Watkins Glen as his three favorite drives in this, his first full sports car season.
“It was quite a bit challenging,” Cindric said of the rain race at the Glen. “It’s really interesting to see how much speed you could carry over. In open wheel, it was hard to get heat in the tires.”
Cindric’s versatile and “drive whatever he can” approach means he isn’t limiting himself to any one discipline for any length of time, but he’s fully appreciative of now being able to say he’s won in two radically different forms of racing this year.
“For me, it doesn’t affect me what kind of car I’m in,” he said. “Conti and GRC are two completely different atmospheres.
“But to add CTMP and be able to do it with GRC Lites, now I can say I have won in both series I’m in this year. It’s a big accomplishment.”