This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, David Askew reflects on his 2018 season, his breakthrough win on home soil at Utah Motorsports Campus, and looks ahead to 2019.
How did your 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season stack up with your pre-season expectations?
“I wanted to get as much driving time as possible in the AMG GT3 so I ran PWC GT Am and SprintX. I ran the Sprint X races solo. Just a couple weeks ago I ran the California 8 Hours with my coach Ryan Dalziel and Mike Hedlund.
“My goal is to get to the Rolex 24 and I am methodically making my way down that road. I need to be able to do traditional 1-2 hour stints so it needs to be “normal” for me to be in the car for that amount of time.
“I’m new to this (racing just a few years) so my expectations are tempered. I’m a competitive person; I’ve been racing sailboats long distances in the open ocean for over 30 years, so I definitely expect to be successful, but first I need to get the experience.
“That being said, 2018 was a good year. I finished races and mostly kept out of trouble. I had a few podiums and I even won one race.”
What did it mean to you to break through for a class win at your home track, Utah Motorsports Campus?
“It meant a lot because it meant I am capable of winning races. I’m kind of a process guy, meaning I believe if my team and I focus on preparation, then success will be a natural result.
“My experience in the sailing world has taught me that it’s the team that wins races. It really boils down to the people and how they interact and work towards a goal.
“Still, it’s tough because I sill expect to go out and win, but even if I don’t do well, I know I’ve learned a ton and will be in a better position to capitalize next time.”
Outside of the win, what would you consider some highlights of your season?
“I dramatically improved my performance on some of the tracks we run. The races at Road America and Watkins Glen were really standouts for me. I felt I made some big gains and was really competitive even if the results didn’t show.
“Definitely the California 8 Hours was a big deal for me. Prior to that my team had only run one four hour race (Continental Tire at Daytona in an AMG GT4).
“Our expectation was to just finish the race and we ended up on the podium in second. My team worked flawlessly and made no mistakes. Getting an 8 hour race under our belt means we are just that much closer to getting to Daytona.”
Was the challenge of branching out into endurance racing in the California 8 Hours an enjoyable one?
“Yes, definitely. It’s why I got into racing: to do endurance racing. Up to now I’ve been doing sprint racing to get seat time and experience. This is why PWC, as it is evolving, is such a natural fit for me.
“I’m really looking forward to the 90 minute format for all the races next year, and I’m really looking forward to 2019 with my co-driver Ryan Dalziel. He’s a great coach and his depth of experience is really paying off for my team and me.
“My team manager Richard Raeder ran Ryan in Formula Atlantic when Ryan was just getting started in the states. They go back a long time.
“It’s a common thread on my team that many of the guys have successfully worked with each other over the years.”
What do you know, and what can you share, about your 2019 plans at this time?
“We plan to run two Mercedes-AMG GT3s in World Challenge. Ryan and I will run as a pro-am team. We are working on the line up for the second car and should have some news soon.
“We are also looking to increase the our level of collaboration with Mercedes-AMG. We worked closely with them at the 8 Hours and that paid off for us, so naturally we want to expand that relationship and make it even better.
“AMG really is a fantastic organization and their level of experience and expertise in motor racing is unparalleled.”