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Racers in Isolation: Cameron Cassels

Performance Tech Motorsports driver Cameron Cassels reveals his first car and talks about returning to the kart track…

Photo: Supplied

Sportscar365 is asking drivers from around the world what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re coping with the racing downtime.

Performance Tech Motorsports driver Cameron Cassels (Twitter) features in this edition.

Where are you sitting out the COVID-19 crisis? 

We are waiting this out at home and doing our best to follow all of the new and funky safe practices out there.  

I think we have gone through all the stages of stay at home COVID-19 isolation. These included binge watching streaming shows, conquered the entire Internet, tried and failed to become a chef and became the really mean (and apparently not so bright) substitute teacher.  And I am happy to say that I have resisted the temptation to watch Tiger King…so far.

What have been some of the challenges of staying at home for you?  

We are an extremely active family, so being housebound has definitely caused some friction at times. However, we were lucky enough to all get out for a kart practice last week.  

Myself and my four kids essentially had the entire track to ourselves for two days to knock the rust off and give my wife Tanya a chance to hone her amazing action photography skills on us.  

That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time!  There may or may not have been some deliberate contact between myself and my two sons in an attempt to show some elder dominance.  Strangely the GoPro footage was missing later…

What was your first car? 

My first car was the incredibly sporty, sexy and high performance Datsun B210. I know right, everyone wanted one! Why couldn’t my first car be a Mustang or Camaro!  The upside was that I got an introduction to automotive repair early on.  That thing burned nearly as much oil as gasoline.  Actually, I think it did burn more oil than gas.

What was your first job?

My first real job was stocking shelves at a grocery store.  Not so exciting.  It was a really small grocery store.  I can remember every time a new flavor or version of a product came out you wished you had called in sick that day.

Anyone that worked in a small store like that can appreciate the challenge of moving an entire aisle of products a few inches at a time to squeeze in just one new product.

You’ve been participating in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series. Is sim racing relatively new for you or have you been using it pre-COVID-19 as a tool for preparation?

Prior to this pandemic I had never really participated in a race in iRacing.  I simply used the ‘Test’ option to practice before an event.  Then COVID-19 came along and that was the only way that I was going to be able to satisfy the desire to compete.  It has been fun, but it is no match for the real thing.

Is there a track/race still on your ‘bucket list’ that you would like to race one day?

Le Mans is definitely on the bucket list.  I am hopeful, that despite all of the effects that most of us have felt since COVID-19, that I will still be able to make it there later this year.

Who has been your biggest inspiration in the sport?

There are a lot of past and current drivers that I highly respect and am in awe of their accomplishments.  However, racing for me is purely a personal and selfish obsession to constantly improve my performance.

What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to the first day you return to a race track?

I cannot wait to finally get back into a race car. For those that know me, going from racing in three different series in IMSA (Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Prototype Challenge and WeatherTech Championship) to no racing, is certainly a change in pace.

Just as important will be finally catching up with my friends that I have been fortunate enough to make in the IMSA paddock. It is the amazing racing community that keeps me coming back regardless of race results or personal challenges.

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