Driver Spotlight: Robin Liddell
Driver, No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R
How has the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge evolved in 2014?
“Obviously I dipped my toe in the water over the last couple years. Throughout all of those experiences, if I’m honest, I’ve found there to be too much contact and I thought the level of driving and execution wasn’t very good. But this is my first full season in the series and I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of driving and racing and just the level of the series has improved. Barring one or two events there has been not much in the way of yellows.”
Do you gain any knowledge from co-driver, Andrew Davis’ time in the TUDOR Championship?
“Not really to be honest. You can correlate some of that stuff because very often the issues you are chasing at a track are track related. And I do remember this from years ago, from when I did a couple of races on the same track in the same weekend myself, sometimes you’ll be chasing the same handling issue in one car with a diametrically opposed car. So, for example, a rear engine Porsche against, at the time, a front engine Panoz GT car. I think that helps the driver during the weekend because you realize you’re dealing with a track issue and not a chassis issue. But the challenge for somebody to race both series is obviously thrashing to get back and forth. In terms of our team it doesn’t really affect us positively or negatively. I’m the mainstay here, other than Daytona and Sebring when I was driving the Corvette, and I’m very entrenched in the team so I can keep things going the way I feel they should go.”
How do you overcome the BoP set forth prior to COTA? Is the championship still within reach?
“I’d like to think it’s not going to change any aspect of our approach. Inevitably we’ve got to where we’ve got because of consistent races and consistent performance. We’ve got a very good car with the Z28 Camaro. We’ve got Pratt and Miller Engineering behind us building and engineering the car. With Stevenson Motorsports we’ve got a great team of guys. All the guys on the No. 6 car are our same guys that were on the No. 57 GT car last year. The perception is we rolled out with a car which was going to be dominant but the reality is when we rolled out with the car, we had a huge number of challenges to make it reliable and competitive. So to win the second race, albeit under yellow, and gain the podiums we have, I give full credit to the team, probably more than anyone else because the team carried the burden of the workload in order to get the car where it is.
“In terms of our approach now, based on history, I’m disappointed but not surprised with IMSA’s decision to make a change to the car with only two events remaining in such a close fought battle between the two championship contenders but I do find it rather disappointing. From my standpoint, I’m not going to change anything. We’re just going to focus on doing what we do well and that’s dealing with problems quickly and efficiently and getting the car where we need to be and not getting ourselves into problems. We’ve done a good job of minimizing our errors and that’s why you’re ultimately able to win races and be consistent in the points.”
What are some of the challenges that Road Atlanta presents a driver?
“Road Atlanta is a fun track. It’s a fast, traditional road course. We were fortunate enough to test there so we’ve had a little bit of running ahead of this week’s event and that’s hopefully going to be useful to us. Just getting a base set up and getting a strategy of strengths and weaknesses of the car. Inevitably it’s a challenge setting the car up for Road Atlanta as you have a lot of high speed corners, high speed change of direction through the esses and turn 12 and 1. Then you’ve also got slow corners where it’s critical to get off the corner well. So it’s quite a challenge to set the car up for a track like that with such diverse needs.”
You fly back and forth from Scotland each race. Does the jetlag affect you?
“It does put some additional strain and I think by this point in the season, you start to feel it a bit more. Also it’s been a busy time where we’ve raced every other week. Then on off weekend’s I’m doing things like the Goodwood Revival. As a side note, I was very fortunate to drive an E-Type Jaguar there in the TT race which is a two driver, one hour race. The most exciting bit about that is that the actual car belonged to my Dad and he raced it in the early ‘60’s. I was reunited with the owner of the car about two to three years ago and now the whole thing has come around full circle to where I had the chance to drive the car. We ended up third in the race. It’s a busy time right now with racing and things back home but you just have to manage your energy level.”