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, newly-crowned IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST class champion Nick Galante looks back on the season, his time in the series, and more.
What stands out from you championship season this year?
“How the entire team came together to each pitch in equally and flawlessly put together a great season.
“We had a well-rounded team from all the development and years the BimmerWorld Racing team has put into testing and developing that car and rounding out the team professionally.”
Was there a turning point in the season?
“I would have to say that the turning point and the huge boost was the win at Road America. That really kickstarted the success of the season.
“We were fighting pretty hard for the first couple of races but by Road America, what we did there, it really put the season into overdrive. I think it came down to fuel.
“Our strategist Trent Brown perfectly coordinated that one. [Co-driver] Devin [Jones] closed that race, Trent and crunched the numbers, hit the fuel perfectly, and held off the MINIs. It was looking good from there on.”
Does it make it a more special accomplishment knowing that it was the last year for the ST class?
“Being the last year, not only of the ST class but for manual gearboxes in professional road racing in the States, it was a good cherry on top.
“It was great to close out the season and that ST class with a championship win. Also it was the first championship for BimmerWorld, and it was really nice to be a part of that.”
What has the BimmerWorld team meant to you and your career?
“James Clay gave me the chance to drive with them and it was a huge compliment. It was a good notch in my cap to be accepted by that team and to be able to deliver.
“It was really nice to give that to BimmerWorld, for James Clay, and for everyone involved.”
What are your overall memories of competing in the ST class?
“The great rivalries and the great professional battles. Great friends on and off the track battling head to head and still going and grabbing a beer afterwards, it was really cool.
“The camaraderie amongst the teams and the fierce competition, it was both side by side, and that’s very rare.
“That to me was what stood out about the class. The epic battles of Foss and Pumpelly and McAleer for years, there’s just some great memories.”
What are your lasting impressions of Continental Tire’s involvement in the series?
“I’m sad to see Continental go. The brand, when I see that gold and yellow color, it invokes a feeling. Coming from amateur racing into professional racing, it was always Continental for me, even when it was Grand-Am.
“It was a great tire, a great sponsor, and I’m sad to see them go. They’re going for a little while, but who knows, maybe they’ll be back.”