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Robichon Was “A Little Nervous” About Wright Endurance Role

Daytona class winner speaks about experiences with joining Wright Motorsports after GTD title success…

Photo: Porsche

Zach Robichon says he was ‘a little nervous’ moving into a new role as the third driver at Wright Motorsports prior to winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as he was concerned about the impact his performance could have on the championship campaign for his full-season co-drivers.

Robichon, the GTD class winner of last year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, will team up with Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen for this weekend’s 70th running of the Florida endurance classic.

While the Canadian has always raced as a full-time driver with his previous team Pfaff Motorsports since graduating from Porsche GT3 Cup racing in 2019, Robichon moved into a part-time role with Wright once Pfaff stepped up to the new-for-2022 GTD Pro class.

As part of his new deal, he will only contest the four rounds of the Michelin Endurance Cup at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Robichon admitted ahead of the Sebring weekend that he had some concerns about his new role and the impact that his smaller schedule could have on his co-drivers’ challenge for the GTD title.

“I’ll admit I was a little nervous about it at the beginning, because it was definitely in the sense that with Ryan and Jan we’re going to build everything around their season to ultimately win that overall championship,” Robichon explained.

“That’s really the goal. So for me my goal then becomes to be like a puzzle piece that fits in as perfectly as possible around what they’ve built.

“Whereas when you’re doing the full season, you feel as though those puzzle pieces are built around you. Now I need to fit into the mold that’s been set.

“For me, it’s about being as smart as possible. Because ultimately, I know that the decisions that I take impacts so much more than just my four races.

“So it definitely works into my decision process. But then at the same time, we’re still just racing.

“I say I think about all these things, but once you’re in the car, whether you’re doing one stint in one race or you’re doing the Rolex 24 at Daytona, you can’t really turn off your instincts and that drive and desire to win.”

The 29-year-old commented that his preferences with regards to car setup are similar to his new co-drivers, which has sped up the integration process.

“Luckily we all kind of have that same feeling around the car, we have that same goal over what the car is going with,” he said.

“Because definitely if I got in there, and I was asking for something very different than them, I think it would have made that puzzle piece much more difficult to fit.

“So once I’m in the car, it feels like it can’t be any different than what it was last year.”

Robichon joined Wright off the back of a successful three-year tenure at Pfaff that included the inaugural WeatherTech Sprint Cup title and multiple race wins in 2019.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the 2020 campaign, the team returned to win the full-season GTD title in 2021 thanks to four class wins, including Sebring.

“I first met basically the entire team at a test in December,” Robichon spoke of his first encounter with the Ohio-based team. “I went down for about a day and that was my first interaction with many of the guys on the team.

“Obviously I knew Ryan, I knew Jan and I had met a few of the others but from the beginning, they basically welcomed me in as family.

“I was a little nervous going into Daytona because I was with the same team for three years, a team that I also knew from GT3 Cup, and had known for many years. So I didn’t really know how the interaction was going to be.

“I didn’t know if it was going to feel a little bit alien in the sense that [you] kind of feel out of place, but I can’t say enough for how quickly the whole team came together.

“Right from the beginning, it was ‘you’re a part of this team just as much as anybody else’.

“Without sounding too cheesy, but it’s very, like heartwarming for me to know that, like, I can come in and join this team and then know that my comfort level from the beginning was basically 100 percent.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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