Driver Profile: Mike Guasch
Driver, No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09
What was going through your mind on pit box in the final 30 minutes?
“I was stressed! At 30 minutes, we were behind 50 seconds. And after 23 and a half hours, to be behind less than a minute; it was pretty phenomenal that we were that close. But even though we were chipping away 1 second a lap we thought, with 50 seconds down and 30 minutes to go, it’s not gonna happen. We hoped for some luck, and it came.
“We saw Colin (Braun) go off. That was good enough for us to get the lead. But it was unfortunate for them, when they crashed. There were a lot of emotions that came.”
You guys were quick all weekend, but were you surprised by the PC rate of attrition?
“Not at all. That happens every year. I thought we had great pace and a great shot at this. From the moment we sat down and put this team together, we’ve got a winning, capable team. There were only two or three full lineups that we thought had the overall speed to be able to do this, and it’s whoever has the least amount of bad luck that wins it. We had ours at the beginning. We had an oil leak, we went down 6-7 laps, and we kept going.”
How does the Rolex 24 win compare to your Sebring wins and the ALMS championship?
“Right now, it’s not as big as winning the ALMS championship, I have to say. But, this is big! It hasn’t really sunk in. I only raced here once before actually, with a fourth place. But my first win at Sebring was big, my second was, OK, this is real now. We didn’t just get lucky. People said at the first, ‘Oh this old guy just got lucky,’ but the second was, ‘Hey, this guy can drive!’
“To win this, it’s the biggest road race in the United States. It’s the toughest, hardest and we pulled it off. The PR1 guys together; we all pulled this off, and this was after not knowing each other a month ago. We put it all together and pulled it off.”
What made you want to come back full-time for 2015?
“Well I took last year off after I did first two races. I had come off of winning the championship and the new series was a bit funky. There were some bad calls that happened at Sebring; it looked like a bad year.
“I pulled out to focus on work and looked to build the business, and got a great new sponsor in Cuttwood e-liquid. The owner of the company is here, and he came to support us. We have a great new sponsorship deal I put together over the year.
“That’s what allowed us to come back. We have a real legitimate sponsor to pull this thing off and they see the B2B value in the relationship.”
How will you and new full-season co-driver Andrew Novich gel?
“It should go fairly well. I met him and found out when we had dinner that he lives by me! So once he graduates from college in a couple months, I’ll get him to my house, start training and karting together. I’m rusty because I took eight-nine months off, but we’ll get the pace back.
You have a fairly big fitness regime, so what do you do to prepare?
“Anyone who’s seen my fitness video, it’s the same stuff. I’m a little behind on where I should be. I’m not in as good a shape as I wanted to be because I only put this deal together eight weeks ago.
“You train eight weeks for the 24, and it wasn’t quite enough. But by the time I get to Sebring, we’ll be ready to rock and roll. It’s a lot of cardio, a lot of weightlifting, as you try to get leaner and meaner.
“It’s also an extreme diet, with shakes and fresh vegetables all day. Generally I’ll lose five pounds at the race.”