Driver Spotlight: Damien Faulkner
Driver, No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America
Looking back on 2014 on the whole, what were your thoughts and impressions of how the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship went from your perspective?
“Really, it was a big task bringing together so many teams and competitors. So it was challenging for the whole group to come together. But it was exciting. It created a lot of competition; a lot of ups and downs. Understandably if you were winning you were happy, and if you weren’t, you weren’t.”
You came over to GB Autosport last year for its first season. What did you make of this new team and fitting in to its environment?
“That was one of the really good things about 2014 for me. Michael (Avenatti) gave me the opportunity to come to GB Autosport and with a two-year contract, the first of my career actually. So that was exciting, and the start of something new to be honest.
“This time last year, we were just doing a shakedown at the Roar. The whole team had come together through Cole Scrogham, the team manager, and I’d worked with him previously at a couple different teams including his own, Synergy Racing, back in the day. It felt like a family; it felt like coming home, if that doesn’t sound too silly. Having engineer Mario Prezel on board, who I’ve known for years and worked with in (Porsche) Supercup, fantastic engineer, he’s here as well. The core people I’ve worked with are here. It’s good. We’re a million miles forward of where we were last year.
“With what we have here, we’re not here to make up the numbers. I think we were a bit unfortunate in 2014, especially at COTA where we were practically leading before the BMW took us. We figured we’d be on the podium, I really mean at least second. But that gave us a glimpse of what this team can do when everything comes together. We made many strides toward the back end on our own.”
What are some things you’d like to see improved come 2015?
“Hopefully we’ve moved on, but at times the officiating wasn’t up to scratch. There were at least three incidents where we got taken out, one or two here at Daytona and the one I just mentioned at COTA. There needs to be more consistency, but they’ve sort of hinted at finding that in the briefing here this week.
The other is of course the Balance of Performance, and I realize it’s a really tough job to do. Sometimes, there are things done that are difficult to understand.”
You’re Irish, and there aren’t that many drivers from there that come over here. How do you enjoy racing in America?
“It’s great. I love it. I absolutely adore racing in America. It’s the only real place I’m racing currently where my nationality is endeared and welcomed. That it makes a change from some of the other places where I’ve raced. It’s not an advantage, per se, but I just like all the people.
“People are so friendly. Most of the team owners are all really friendly. People are more like people here; they’re human beings that you want them to be. I think I get treated really well over here; I’ve had so many good opportunites over here, and I love this championship. I hope I get to be in it for many more years.”
Anything fun to recap from the offseason?
“Honestly, no! I just went back home and kept busy back there. That was really it. It was good to get home for a bit with family. But you get tired of sitting around and it’s always nice to come racing again. For any driver, regardless if they’re pro or not, it’s not like work. When you do something you really enjoy and you get paid for it, it’s a blessing really, and it’s something you love every minute.”