Zach Robichon said a mid-season change in philosophy helped propel he and Laurens Vanthoor to the IMSA GT Daytona class title with Pfaff Motorsports.
Robichon, Vanthoor and Lars Kern drove to a runner-up class finish in Saturday’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, capping off the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with a string of five consecutive podium finishes.
While having entered the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with a 41-point lead over Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, Robichon said they didn’t focus on the opposition and instead let the race come to themselves.
“We hadn’t even looked at the championship picture closely until halfway through the race,” he admitted. “The reality is that we got to this position by not worrying about it.
“A lot of the time when you drive thinking about something like that, that’s when you make mistakes because you’re no longer focusing on yourself, you’re focusing on others around you.
“We wanted to avoid that. If there was an hour to go and we needed to do something for the championship, that’s when we wanted to know about it.
“During the race, we wanted to stick to what we knew we could do. Worry about yourself and things would fall into place.”
Paul Miller’s race unraveled in the second hour when contact from a LMP3 car left Snow with a right-front puncture and a damaged right-rear wheel that sent the No. 1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to the garage.
“It was very unfortunate what happened to the Paul Miller car,” Robichon said.
“It’s been a great rivalry all year. They haven’t put a wheel wrong and they’ve been great to fight against.
“It would have been nice to have a true battle at the end. But we got lucky in this instance.
“Definitely the focus was on ourselves and let the race come to us.”
Robichon, who adds a season-long WeatherTech Championship title to his 2019 Sprint Cup trophy, said they entered the year with full expectations of fighting for the championship.
However, the Canadian believes a change in mindset helped put them on the winning trajectory.
“At the beginning of the year we set ourselves a goal,” Robichon said.
“We knew it was attainable to not only fight for the championship but we firmly believed we had what it took to win the championship.
“Halfway through the year we looked at ourselves. Laurens said it best. ‘Luck hasn’t fallen on our side but it’s time for us to make our own luck.’
“That was before Road America. Before that we were trying to do too much and trying to have luck fall on our side.
“After that we said that wasn’t working. It was time for us to just go back to what we do best, don’t worry about what the others were doing.
“Since that, we’ve won three [races] and finished second in the other two. I think that’s truly where the team deserves to be.
“To be able to share that with these guys has been pretty incredible.”
Vanthoor: “Impossible to Compare” GTLM to GTD Titles
The Porsche factory driver picked up his second IMSA title in the last three years after winning the 2019 GT Le Mans championship with the then-works operation.
“It’s impossible to really compare,” he said. “Two years ago it was an RSR and a works team; a very big team. You sit down and drive and do your job. There’s a lot of people and a lot of pressure.
“Whereas here it was quite different.
“Pfaff is still a younger team, a smaller group of people and really, really enjoyable to work together with Zach, Lars and the team simply because it was a small group of people where there was tons of respect between everybody on the team and no egos.
“Everybody tried to work together. We always wanted to do better and kept learning from each other. I think that was our strong point and it gave a lot of satisfaction to be a part of that.
“Together with a group of people to achieve something like… It was two very different scenarios but I’m very happy and proud to be part of it.”