Robinson Racing team owner George Robinson says it was a snap decision to make the switch to running a pair Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs but admitted his strong connections with General Motors made it an easy choice.
The team, which fielded a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries for Gar Robinson and Shane Lewis to begin the season, has deep roots racing GM products in Trans-Am competition going back to George’s time as a driver in that series.
When Gar Robinson’s heavy crash at Lime Rock put one of the Mercedes chassis in jeopardy, George called an old friend and got the ball rolling on a switch in manufacturers.
“We made the switch at the end of Lime Rock when we were faced with the difficulty of getting the Mercedes repaired,” Robinson told Sportscar365.
“We had a choice then to either buy another Mercedes or perhaps make a manufacturer change.
“Between the drive from Lime Rock to the airport I made a phone call to Doug Fehan over at Chevrolet and by the time I got to Detroit we were going to be looking at these cars.
“It was really more of a split-second decision. There wasn’t a lot of thinking beforehand or after that. In order to be a presence here we needed two cars, so that’s the main reason we did it.
“We have a long history with Chevrolet and GM, the Pratt & Miller shop is only 15 minutes from our shop, and we’re all sort of family there.
“It wasn’t that hard of a decision to make and everyone is pretty happy about it.”
Robinson said the early returns with the brand-new Camaro GT4 chassis had been positive despite a condensed timeline, citing the team’s recent shakedown test at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in Illinois.
“We were pretty happy [at the test],” he said. “The crew went to work on the cars, everybody rallied.
“The week after Lime Rock was when we bought these things and we were racing Trans-Am in Detroit so we didn’t have a lot of time to get to these things.
“We worked furiously through the time we had and GM was awesome to help us get them ready, and here we are.
“Pratt & Miller and those guys were super about getting them to us. Going into Detroit, we weren’t sure we were going to get them.
“It was touch and go about being able to deliver the cars that quickly. We’re blessed to have them support us like that.”
Robinson praised Mercedes-AMG for its effort in aiding his team’s transition to Pirelli World Challenge, but said his connection with racing GM products made the switch a sensible one.
“It’s kind of like coming home,” he said. “We enjoyed the Mercedes relationship. That’s the kind of car I drive at home.
“I love Mercedes, but we’ve raced GM products throughout my career and I’ve never raced a Mercedes. That was a cool idea and I really wanted to do that, but we’re happy to be here.”