Driver Spotlight: Robin Liddell
Driver, No.6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS
How does it feel to return to top-level IMSA competition?
“I’m delighted to be going back going to the main series of IMSA. I enjoyed my time in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge over the last two years. But the plan was always to get back into the main series, ideally with Stevenson. Now I’m just really delighted to be doing it.”
Have you driven the Audi R8 LMS yet?
“I haven’t driven it; we won’t be running the car until the Roar. I’ve just left the Stevenson shop where we’ve done the seat fitting and I got to see the car. Andrew (Davis) has driven the car and his first impressions were good.
“It was good to see the car and to sit in it and just to touch and feel it. Just getting acclimated to it. Listening to Andrew’s comments and talking to Allan McNish, who’s driven the car, about it. Everybody that’s driven it speaks very highly of it. It’ll be a fun car to drive and I’m pretty excited about it.”
Yourself and the team had been linked to GM for a number of years. Is it strange to switch manufacturers?
“It is. I have mixed emotions about it to be honest. I was disappointed when we weren’t able to work out a deal with GM. We had a great relationship for over eight years with Pratt & Miller, General Motors, Chevy and Stevenson.
“In a perfect world I would have loved to continue all of those ongoing relationships. As one door opens, another door closes. It was an end of an era but a new chapter and a new opportunity.”
Having won the CTSC title, and taking all four of the team’s drivers from 2015, how important is continuity within the team?
“It’s really important. It’s one of the things that Stevenson does very well. They provide an environment where you can grow and build your experience level within the team. They understand that they’re investing in people as much as you’re investing in them. That’s really a key part of the success. In sometimes difficult circumstances… For example last year, despite the outward perception that the Camaro was a dominant car, we didn’t have the straight line speed that we needed and knew what we had to do to win the title.
“One of the strengths that we have is that continuity and the people that we have. That comes from the leadership – from Johnny (Stevenson) and how he runs his business and how he values people in his business. We work as a complete team.
“The current GTD class is different from what we ran 2-3 years ago. It’ll take time to learn and understand the new car, but everything else more or less remains the same. And that will help our process as we integrate a new car into our program.”
How do you think the GTD class will be, competition wise, in 2016?
“The class is getting stronger again and there’s a lot of quality entries and quality drivers. I haven’t really kept as close an eye on it in the last couple of years. I did a couple GTLM races in 2014 but nothing at all in GTD. I think it’s shaping up to be pretty strong.
“When you’ve got such a high caliber of drivers like Jörg Bergmeister, it’s going to be tight. There are also different manufacturers coming on board. It’s a good time for the class. We’re excited about it and we know it’s going to be strong and competitive.”
What have you been doing in the off-season?
“I just came back from Norway. I did my Nordic Ski Instructor course with cross country skiing. I came straight from Oslo to see the team in Jacksonville (North Carolina) and do our Christmas party. So that’s been at the forefront of my mind. I spent a week out there and I passed the course, so I was pretty happy about that! Cross country skiing is a good thing for the off season. It’s good fitness. I like it out on the mountains. It’s good winter training.”