In December, Trent Hindman had no ride, no budget, and no prospects.
Two months later, he was standing in victory lane in Sebring after claiming the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport’s maiden win with co-driver Cameron Cassels.
It’s been a wild ride for the 20-year-old New Jersey native, a former BMW Junior driver.
Now armed with a full-season contract with Bodymotion Racing to contest the full Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, plus a deal to run the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series with Prestige Performance, Hindman believes he has found the continuity he’s been searching for his entire career.
That career began racing dirt bikes in the Northeast at the age of four. From there he transitioned to karting and into the junior single-seater formulae in the U.S, Canada, and Europe.
Despite some success, including the 2011 Team USA Scholarship and a fifth-place result in USF2000 in 2012, Hindman saw the doors to the open-wheel world close on him for very familiar reasons.
“For us moving forward and looking at the big picture, my parents and I realized that the open-wheel route wasn’t the most feasible for me,” Hindman told Sportscar365.
“Not because of results, but because of budget. It’s very expensive if you aren’t constantly winning your way up, and that’s a very tough thing to do.”
Instead, he went sports car racing in 2013, first in SCCA competition, then with a partial-season deal with Fall-Line Motorsports.
Paired with Charles Espenlaub, Hindman finished on the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and qualified his car on pole in the season-finale at Lime Rock Park.
“It was a good dynamic from the get go, and we were able to get a program together with them for 2014 to run,” he said.
Hindman was teamed with John Edwards for the full 2014 season, but getting the deal to line up required some sacrifice.
“Our existing partners were pretty worn out from supporting us from the early days in karting,” he said.
“My parents actually sold their house so that we could run GS. That was a massive, massive, massive commitment from them.”
Their commitment put Hindman in position to win the 2014 Continental Tire Challenge GS championship, and his career seemed poised to take off from there.
“I was fortunate to be a part of the BMW Junior program for all of 2015,” Hindman said.
“I was invited for a series of physical tests and the shootout that they put on, and was one of the final four guys that they brought on for the year.
“I got to run the 24 hours of Zolder which was a great learning experience. Got to run the 12 Hours of Brno as well, and we ended up winning.
“After that, unfortunately I found out I wouldn’t be a BMW Motorsport junior again, and I really had no more involvement with BMW.”
That news came late in the off-season in December. Only at the 11th hour did the deal with Bodymotion come together, in addition to the chance to race in Super Trofeo.
“Two months ago I thought I’d be going to school and I’d be a spectator, but now I find myself with an overload of work!” said Hindman, who will also be coaching Team Pelfrey’s USF2000 drivers this year.
“I can’t complain because I look back and I see a load of guys that are still pounding the pavement, looking for something to drive.
“And these are guys that are more than deserving of a ride. For a short time there, I knew what that was like, and got a crash course in how the business of racing works in all reality.”
The Bodymotion team missed the Continental Tire Challenge season opener at Daytona — Cassels had family commitments — but Hindman and Cassels showed the paddock that they are a championship contender with the win at Sebring.
“We were never expecting a result like the one we got [at Sebring], but either way I’m just happy because we know we have more to go development-wise between myself, Cameron, and the car,” Hindman said.
“We’re happy we started off the way we did. At the end of the day, I’m a very lucky guy for what I’ve got.”