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Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight: Gustavo Yacaman

This week’s Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight: Gustavo Yacaman…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Driver Spotlight: Gustavo Yacaman
Driver: No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan
Follow: @GustavoYacaman

How does it feel to have pulled off the win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?

“I’m really stoked about this win. The team has been working really hard this whole season to make the tires work with the car. We’ve just developed it and got better and better each race. They really deserve this win. We came here and did our job, it was to drive around without mistakes and stay out of trouble. Both [Olivier Pla, co-driver] and I did this. I have to thank the whole team for providing us a fast car that keeps going and doesn’t break down. It’s a strong car, I have no words, it was really fast.”

How has the transition been from DP to P2 this year?

“The transition was very easy. With this car, you can drive it very similar to a formula car. It more or less has the same speed as an Indy Lights car, so I felt at home in this car right away. With the DP, it took me a lot more time to get used to it. I still think, even at the end of last year, I wasn’t getting the most out of the DP that you could get. Unlike with this car, after a few laps at Daytona, I was right up to speed with some pretty good teams and felt comfortable in the car.

“The transition hasn’t been so bad but learning French… that’s the hardest part I think! The communication with the team is fine, it’s only when they want to speak in French, it’s just gibberish [to me]. We all get along very well. All of the mechanics and crew are very friendly I’m just happy to be a part of this program.”

Has the merger met your expectations?

“Most definitely. It hit me mostly when I went to Silverstone to run the ELMS race, basically with the same car I race in the U.S. In my experiences, whenever I’ve gone to Europe, it’s always been in a Formula 3 car or World Series car or even in karting, it was a very different jump from racing in the U.S. to racing in Europe. You didn’t stand a chance for a one-off to be competitive if you’re not there all of the time. While here, if you run a LMP2 car, you can do a WEC race or Le Mans or wherever the LMP2 cars race and you can be competitive. That’s when it hit me that both series coming together has been a very, very positive thing, especially down the line when there will be only one kind of car in 2017. I think it’s going to be even better.”

Do you feel like you have a chance of the championship?

“It’s consistency at the top that’s rewarded. Because of BoP issues at the beginning of the year, we lacked that consistency at the top. Running fourth was the best we could do [then]. Now things have gone our way a little bit more. We’ve closed up in points so what we need is to keep up the good work and focus on doing everything right. We need to keep winning races and with this I think we can definitely fight for the championship. It’s going to be tough as everything’s going to come down to the line at Petit. That’s such an unpredictable race. It’s a 10-hour race and many, many things can go wrong. It’s going to be about staying clean and running clean the whole race and making it to the end in order to win the championship.”

Do you have any ambitions to go back to the open-wheel ranks one day?

“I don’t have any ambition of going into IndyCar. I’d like to do a race here or there. I’m much happier where I am right now, running a full sports car season with races like the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, running a few street courses at Long Beach and Detroit, the Watkins Glen Six Hour and going to tracks like Road America and COTA, bunch of tracks that IndyCar just doesn’t go to. This championship has the best of the best; the best endurance races, the best natural terrain road course racing. This is what I like. I’m not a big fan of the ovals and I really enjoy the endurance aspect of sports car racing. Nevertheless, I still do have the goal of running in the Indy 500.”

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