Guy Cosmo is back in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with Team TGM, armed with his first full-season deal in nearly four years, and eager to make a run at the championship beginning with this weekend’s season-opener at Daytona.
Cosmo is entered alongside team owner Ted Giovanis and series veteran Hugh Plumb for Friday’s race in both of the team’s cars, as TGM and most of the Porsche entrants in the series try to decide between the new SRO-Homologated Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and the year-old IMSA variant of the Cayman.
Both cars are eligible to run under the 2017 regulations and TGM has entered one of each for first race of the year.
Cosmo, whose relationship with the team officially began with the final four races of 2016, said competing with the team last year helped to jumpstart his 2017 plans, but added that the relationship with Giovanis predates his time driving one of TGM’s cars.
“It started years ago, just racing in and out of the Conti series,” Cosmo told Sportscar365. “Ted and I were introduced on one of the race weekends and we just chatted casually as buddies, talking shop and talking cars.
“Over the years we’ve kept in touch. There was never any discussion about us working together, it was just us shooting the breeze.
“Then it got a little more serious about maybe me coming in to help coach or work on setups or other things, but no indication on my end that it would lead to a race opportunity.
“And then one day, it did. It all happened pretty quickly, but it went well. We had a podium in our first race together. We hands-down could have won that race, we just didn’t get our strategy right.
“We really hit the ground running, and since then we’ve been motivated to keep that going.
“To be back for a whole year, knowing that I can focus on one program and plan ahead to work towards a common goal, it’s a great feeling to know that I can contend for this championship with Ted and the team.”
When asked what drew him back to Continental Tire Challenge, the former ALMS race winner and 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year winner said the answer was simple.
“Hands-down, competition,” he said. “This is a series where no matter where you are in the field, you are scrapping for it. You’ve got great racing that takes place from the front all the way to the back of the field.
“The endurance format really gives a chance for everybody to learn from each other and experience all the different aspects that happen in endurance racing. This series draws a lot of great cars, great teams, and a bunch of great drivers.
“It’s fun! This is hardcore racing in this series. It’s not out of control with cost, the rules are good, it’s a great package. There’s some serious machinery and really great teams that are turning up for this.”
According to Cosmo, a large part of the series’ resurgence is rooted in its acceptance of the SRO GT4 platform.
“I think there’s some strange thing that happens inside a gentlemen driver’s head when he knows he can go to a manufacturer and buy a race car from them instead of having it built from an independent shop,” he said.
“Look, this evolution is sad for the independent car builders. It’s definitely changing the face of how we go racing and how you acquire your equipment.
“However, the manufacturers are now more invested and more involved in what’s taking place and they have to take responsibility because their product is on track.
“Before, because you build your own version of it, a lot of the manufacturers didn’t want anything to do with you.
“They didn’t want to endorse or support you because they didn’t build the car.
“Now that they are, I think that there’s maybe a bit more trust between the teams and the manufacturers and there’s a better working relationship.
“You know you’re going to buy a piece of machinery that’s going to be competitive and you’re not going to be outdone by another of the same brand.”
With so many new cars from four different manufacturers slated to take part in the GS class alone in 2017, Cosmo said he expects a tough fight but is confident in his team and Porsche.
“I can tell you this: the Porsche is a great car, for sure,” he said. “We have a great team. I’m confident in what Porsche has provided us with. They don’t sell a bad race car.
“On top of that, Ted Giovanis has really assembled a great group of people and there’s been a lot going on to get this team here to this point prepared from the season.
“No matter what we’ve got, we’re going to be strong, but I’m glad we have the Porsche.”