Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week’s IMSA Reflection comes from 3GT Racing driver Scott Pruett who is set to sign off on his storied career after one final run at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.
Scott reflects on how the Rolex 24 has shaped his career and what memories he has been thinking about heading into his final race.
How has Daytona shaped your career?
“It’s been an incredible run for me, especially at Daytona. You have that track that people are going to remember you for. The majority of my success came in the 2000’s and 2010 up through ’13.
“I had the opportunity to drive for an incredible team with Ganassi and had incredible teammates like Juan Montoya and Memo Rojas and Scott Dixon and Jamie McMurray, the names go on and on.
“All of it comes down to four tires that touch the ground. The Continental guys are good friends of mine.
“All the testing miles that we’ve done together, all the racing miles that we’ve done together, and then being able to share those moments on the podiums with all their Continental guests is always a highlight.”
How has the sport evolved in your 50 years in it?
“The cars have changed significantly where in days gone by you always had to be concerned with something. You had to take care of the engine, take care of the transmission.
“Now, you can even look at this race as a 24-hour sprint race. You can drive the car hard and it can go the distance.”
When did the transition to Daytona being a 24-hour sprint race occur?
“The mid-2000’s on, 2005, 2006 in what was Grand-Am at the time and Jim France’s view of having good, durable reliable race cars.
“I would certainly have to tip my hat to Jim’s vision at the time on how he wanted to make the cars a lot more robust instead of delicate.
“His view was, we want the racing close, we want the race car safe, we want the fans entertained.
“That transition happened in 2004 and 2005, and from there moving forward it has gotten nothing but more competitive and significantly more difficult than to win this race than in years gone by.”
How much reflecting have you been doing going into your final race?
“There’s been a lot of thinking going on and a lot of reflection going on. It’s been 50 years that I’ve been racing. I started in go-karts when I was eight years old.
“13 championships and 90 wins later, there’s a lot to reflect on. Even coming into this race weekend and all the interviews I’m doing, a lot of it is reflecting on different elements.
“A lot of the people doing the interviews are asking about different areas, different moments: Trans-Am, IndyCar, sports cars.
“There’s been so many different things that I’ve been involved in that it’s been pretty special reflecting on all of that.”