Driver Spotlight: Ian James
Driver: No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America
What are the strengths of working with Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing for the second consecutive year, with a largely unchanged effort?
“We’ve been able to have a winter of development on the car and from a personnel point of view everyone is comfortable working together and knows what is required.”
After a rough race at Daytona, what do you do to put the disappointment behind you and focus on the next race?
“Daytona was a massive disappointment. However, that is racing and it was outside of team and drivers’ control. We have since tested at Sebring; the car is good there and confidence is high.
You finished on the podium at Sebring last year. What are some of the keys to success in the race?
“You need to make the car good over a stint and fast when the sun/temperatures goes down. Obviously staying out of trouble is key and one of the hardest elements when competing in the slowest class.”
Have you been pleased with the evolution of the TUDOR Championship? Is there anything you’d like to see changed?
“I think the series needs to look at having a fairer distribution of coverage over the four classes. Sometimes the best racing is not the Prototype class but they get 75 percent of coverage. I understand the difficulties in achieving that but the racing in the GT classes especially can be amazing sometimes and these cars are relatable to the public I think they are missing an opportunity.
“Hopefully the series will get a handle on the BoP situation and give all the teams a shot at winning. I would actually prefer if they didn’t try and keep everyone on the same fuel strategy. I think it would be more exciting if you had teams using strategy more.
“If for example you have a big v10 or v12 engine you should have to pit more often or run more conservatively… Bring back an element of not really knowing what all the cars were going to do until they did it.”
How influential has Gabe Newell been to the organization? Given his programming/gaming background, is he able to bring a different insight to certain procedures, etc?
“Gabe is relatively new to motorsport but is a rock star in his industry. He has been a quick study and has had a hugely positive effect on everyone associated with the No. 23 car. There is lot of hits and misses in the gaming world and there is a direct parallel with racing.
“He has brought that calming effect to all of us. We really operate like a close knit family unit with everyone on the team pulling for each other. He is aware of everything that goes on with the car and seems to be able to add a valuable extra perspective just when it is needed.”
Talk about Team Seattle and its fundraising initiatives…
“Donna and Don Kitch started team Seattle over 15 years ago and have raised over 6 million dollars to date. Starting last year the program evolved into theheartofracing.org. 100 percent of the money raised goes to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Cardiac Center where they are treating kids with heart issues.
“One of the top surgeons in the world, Dr. Tom Jones and his team has done amazing work in developing new procedures to help kids with heart defects. The fatality rate when this program started 15 years ago was close to 50 percent. Now it’s closer to 1 percent. This research is then shared with hospitals across the country and world.
“I have been fortunate to visit the hospital many times and we had the pleasure of entertaining one of the patients Parker at Daytona that I met last year when he was waiting on a crucial heart transplant. Now he is a fit young lad again and brought a smile to everyone face at Daytona. It adds a great perspective to life!”