Driver Profile: Martin Plowman
Driver, No. 61 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09
How much of a roller coaster ride was this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, jumping back and forth between both BAR1 Motorsports cars?
“Driving two cars and working with eight other drivers kept me on my toes! Unfortunately with the mechanical issue that we had with the No. 61 Southwest Realty Advisors car, I was nowhere near as busy as I was expected to be. The decision to list me in both cars was purely in case something happened to either car so that I could help the team to achieve the best result possible.”
Do you like the changes to the PC class this year? What’s your take on how they worked from the Rolex 24?
“I really like that they have relaxed a few of the car adjustment rules like the minimum ride height and rake angle allowance, it enables us to better dial-in the car’s balance. The new camshaft was designed to give us more top-speed, but with a more manageable torque curve for the amateurs. Katech did an great job in finding more top speed, but the end result was that the GTDs were still relatively a lot faster in top speed, which was more of an annoyance when managing traffic then anything. I’d like to see more of a separation in that area so that the two classes don’t keep tripping over one another in the future.”
Having now raced the Rolex 24 for the first time, can you compare and contrast with the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
“I’m not sure whether it was because I was better prepared for what to expect in a 24-hour race, or I was still mellow from the Christmas holidays, but this race seemed to be a lot more relaxed and enjoyable compared to my experience at Le Mans. I think my experience played a big part in knowing how to pace myself both physically and emotionally.”
You raced part-time in 2014. How would you compare the vibe and atmosphere in the paddock to Daytona this year to start the new year off?
“It felt great to be working for BAR1 Motorsports, especially at a place as iconic as Daytona. It contrasts my situation to one year earlier where I was coming off my best year in racing to date, but yet there I was wandering around the paddock with a pocket full of business cards knocking down doors for my next opportunity.”
When you’re in a position of not knowing when your next race is, when you’re on a race-to-race deal or might get called into something at the last minute, how do you stay focused and prepared?
“It’s a tough one. I don’t have some secret formula; mostly I just need to stay on top of my fitness as best that I can. Since I don’t normally get any seat time in between times, I try to make up for that by turning as many laps that I can on iRacing or in my kart. Physical preparation is one thing, but I really rely on mental preparation and visualization. It’s a lot of on-board video watching to help prepare.”
Coming from an open-wheel, single-driver background, how have you adapted to sharing the car with another driver and in many cases, helping your co-driver learn and develop along the way?
“Sharing your “girl” is always difficult, but I have had to learn to really compromise my own performance for the betterment of the whole team and become a team player. A lot of times I will help to make setup adjustments that may not necessarily be optimal for outright performance, but that inspire more confidence for my co-drivers which in turn makes them do faster lap times!
“I really take my job of working with my co-drivers seriously. My job is not just to drive as fast as I can, but to try to offer a comprehensive coaching approach 24/7 for these guys who are new to racing. I always tell them that there is no question too stupid to ask.
“The biggest thing for me is helping them to cut down on the massive learning curve that they face. I had 20 years to make mistakes and learn. My job is to teach them how to avoid all of the things that I did wrong to help save them time and money and become better drivers in the process.”