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Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight: Spencer Pumpelly

This week’s Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight, Spencer Pumpelly…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Driver Spotlight: Spencer Pumpelly
Driver: No. 45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 LMS
Follow: @SpencerPumpelly

Now that IMSA has one year under their belt, is there anything you would change going into 2015?

“There were lots of areas of ongoing improvement during the season and I hope to see that continue. The addition of race director, Beaux Barfield, was a positive move and the series seemed to be responsive in most ways to the competitor’s input. However, moving forward into 2015 there are still areas that could see improvements.

“The driver ranking are still inconsistent across the board. I’m not ideologically opposed to using rankings in the GTD and PC classes but throughout the history of GRAND-AM there were no rating requirements in GT and the series was healthy for a long time. If we must use them, they need to be accurate.

“I would propose a committee made of drivers, officials and team managers who would meet at the conclusion of the season to review everyone. Then I would allow an open comment period where teams or driver could challenge the rankings of anyone, and then have a final locked down list pre-season. This would prevent the multiple Pro/Pro pairings we had in GTD this season and give some deserving drivers a chance to drive in the long races.

“We also need to look closely at track and car safety. I know things have improved but we still have a long way to go, When big crashes occur we try to keep the details secret and sweep everything under the rug, when instead we could be learning about ways to improve safety in the future. Aviation does it this way and so should we. There have been fatal crashes in the past that have not resulted in improved safety so I fear they could happen again.

“Finally, we need to get all the classes to race better with each other. Right now the top speeds of GTD, GTLM, and PC are all very similar. This makes it tough for everyone to work together while still racing within the classes. I would like to see every class but GTD sped up so that the top speeds are in the 190, 180, 170, and 160mph range at tracks like Road Atlanta or Road America. This would make the cars more fun for the fans to watch and easier for the drivers. I say more power!”

With regards to the first question, what were some of the things that worked well for the series in 2014?

“The tracks that made it to the final schedule were the best ones of both series before the merger and it’s even better in 2015 with the addition of Lime Rock.”

Can you share with us your plans heading into 2015?

“Not yet.”

As a driver, what do you do in the off-season to prepare for the upcoming race season?

“The off-season is about finalizing plans for the next season and making preparations. I try to increase my workouts to make up for the loss of all the driving I do during the season. The best way to stay fit for racing is to race and that isn’t an option this time of year so I do what I can by running, playing ice hockey, and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I also check my gear and order new inventory when needed. Nomex can get nasty after a season of sweat!

This off season I will be a little busier thanks to the arrival of our second child earlier this month. She and her older brother are keeping my wife and I very active while we wait for the season to start back up.”

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, what are your fondest Thanksgiving memories growing up?

“Thanksgiving was, and still is, about family. When I was a kid, my Grandmother was the life of any celebration we had. Even into her 80’s she was always laughing and joking. She had several games we would play as a family that we looked forward to each year.

For instance when you walked in she would place a name tag on your back with the name of someone either famous or notorious and we would try to guess by asking other family members yes or no questions. When you got yours, you would wear the tag in front like a badge of honor.

She also read the New Yorker Magazine and saved cartoons that reminded her of each of us. These would be our place cards and it was a great way to poke a little fun at ourselves. We carry on these traditions at our place every year in her honor.”

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