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Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight: Tom Kimber-Smith

This week’s Continental Tire IMSA Driver Spotlight, Tom Kimber-Smith…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Driver Spotlight: Tom Kimber-Smith
Driver: No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09
Follow: @TKS77

You earned a second-place finish at The Glen. How challenging were the closing laps?

“The race was very challenging throughout, which made it exciting to be a part of. The race started in mixed conditions, then went to a dry spell and then to a monsoon type of racing which is when I was in the car. At this point I was just in survival mode. Thankfully the red flag came out when it did as visibility was at zero especially when there a a group of cars.

“When we finally went back to green I knew that I had one chance of overtaking Plowman for second place, as I was expecting another yellow to come out in the near future. Martin made a mistake in the last corner, which to be honest I thought he was going into the wall and I still don’t know how he managed to catch it! This gave me the opportunity to get along side him into Turn 1.

“So P2 is where we finished and we deserved that result. Frustrations and problems during the practice sessions held us back, but as always the PR1 guys pulled us back up to the front where we belong.”

The team has maintained its lead in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. What kind of significance does that title hold for you and the team?

“Now we have increased our lead in the NAEC which is fantastic, and we all so pulled back some points in the main championship. Coming off two bad results at Laguna and Detroit, we all knew how important it was for us in the long run and also the morale of all of us was to have a good result. And we got it. OK, it’s not a win like we wanted, but we finished ahead of our rivals in both championships, which is what we needed to do.”

What has made PR1/Mathiasen so successful in endurance races?

“We had a joke around at the weekend saying our golden ticket in the endurance races is either Andrew Palmer or the fact that we have Spyder all over the car. We are not sure which one it is yet, but maybe at Mosport you may see one of these things there…?

“We have great guys in the team and we have been unlucky in the shorter races. I can’t say that we are a endurance specialist team, and I hope to showcase this at Mosport next week.”

There’s been a lot of debate over the future of the PC class. What would you like to see in 2017?

“Whatever happens in the future, the replacement cars or class for the PC car has got to be better. PC cars have just been awesome. Some of the best racing has come from this class. Everything is so close and I rally enjoy driving it. It’s probably the hardest car to drive in my opinion.

“So whatever IMSA decide to do, I’m sure it will be for the best. I have my options on where I think it should go but I’m not the guy steering the ship. I know one thing for sure: the next car needs to be able to compete anywhere in the world, not just in the IMSA series.”

How has it been adjusting to American life and is it living up to your expectations?

“So It’s coming up to my two-year anniversary of moving myself and my family to America (July 2). None of us have looked back and regretted one thing. My children (Jack and Hugo) are both in school and settled into the American life style. The hardest thing probably is trying to understand my kids’ new American accent!

“For myself I just love it here, and I hope to stay for a very long time.”

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