Driver Spotlight: Gunnar Jeannette
Driver, No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (PC)
Now that we’re well into the merger, what are your thoughts on some of the new pieces to the PC puzzle?
“I’m a big proponent of the new series, but unfortunately the PC class has been pretty frustrating this year. We didn’t get to attend some of what I consider the best races (Long Beach and Mosport) and instead get split 45 minute races at both Kansas and VIR… which I don’t really consider proper endurance sports car racing. There’s also been a lot of car to car contact throughout the classes, but I think you’ve seen more from the “gentlemen” drivers in the PC class than previous years. I believe this is partly down to the fact that now the PC class is one of the slowest cars in a straight line. Throw into the equation that GTLM is a full on manufacturer war and now the pro’s in the PC cars struggle to get by the GTLM’s. There’s something that’s missing in all of the classes and that is a differential in top speed. If a Prototype could pass any type of GT car in a straight line, I think you’d see the number of total incidents go down. That all being said, I still think the PC car is the best bang for the buck so to speak in pro racing. The car is turnkey, under $450K and a yearly budget is significantly cheaper than even a GTD car. The Pro-Am format is great, as long as we don’t give a pro license to anyone out of a three day Skip Barber school. Bottom line is that I still love the PC class and cars and hope we can work out some of the current issues so that the class can survive in the future.”
How tight is the competition in the PC class this year?
“The competition this year in PC is the best I’ve seen. On any given race day you’ve got several teams that can get a win. Qualifying ordinarily has the majority of the field covered by less than a second. Throw in the near pro silver driver’s like my co-driver, Frankie Montecalvo, Sean Rayhall, etc. and you’ve got some great racing. ”
Take us through a lap around Road America…
“Road America is one of North America’s premier road circuits. It has tons of history and the majority of drivers love going there. With long straights there should be a good number of passing opportunities, and enough high speed corners like the carousel and kink to get both the drivers and fans excited. The atmosphere and location are wonderful as well. It’s always nice to be at an event that draws a large number of people that are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the show we’re putting on.”
For any new fans coming to the race at Road America, where is the best place to watch in your opinion?
“I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice on where to watch around the track, as normally when I’m here I’m either behind the wheel or behind the pit wall. I think a great place to start though would be one of the many bratwurst and beer stands scattered around the track! There’s a good variety of corners though, so the braking zone for turn 5 and the viewing area above the carousel would be two of my top picks to watch.”
Tell us a little about your extreme hobbies, skydiving and base jumping…
“The last year, I really haven’t been doing much skydiving or BASE jumping. I had an accident the middle of last year where I broke my tibia after a hard landing from a double parachute malfunction (not a good thing to have). Luckily it was in the middle of a nice break in our European Le Mans Series season, so I was able to recover enough to not miss a race and be on the podium with a broken leg! Some of my good friend’s just competed in the Red Bull Aces Wingsuit Race though and I have to say that watching them race head-to-head through a slalom type course got the juices flowing again… We’ll wait and see what the future brings.”