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Pirelli GT4 America

Gottsacker Revels in Return to Site of Breakout Performance

SprintX West title hopeful Harry Gottsacker returns to the site of last year’s starring drive at Portland…

Photo: Harry Gottsacker Racing

Defending Portland winner Harry Gottsacker is hopeful of repeating his breakthrough Pirelli GT4 America performance from last year during this weekend’s SprintX event.

The 2018 edition of the Rose Cup Races saw Gottsacker dominate Race 1 from pole position in his SIN R1, only to see Ian James’ Panoz Avezzano GT4 slip past in the final minutes to deny him his maiden win.

One day later, Gottsacker turned the tables on James and the rest of the GT4 field by claiming a dominant victory by 8.7 seconds.

This weekend, Gottsacker returns as the GT4 West Pro-Am points leader with ST Racing co-driver Jon Miller, and admitted that he has been buoyed by that strong showing a year ago.

“I hit the light switch and it came on for the rest of the season,” Gottsacker told Sportscar365. “It gave me that extra little chunk of confidence that I took with me everywhere throughout my career.

“It’s a game changer when you have something like that. It was a real sense of accomplishment. It’s that confidence that you have in the back of your head going into a weekend that’s the difference maker.

“Especially duking it out with Ian James last year over the last couple of laps, it was definitely a statement for myself to everybody, and I think people recognized that.”

The young Texan, who says he feels “really comfortable” at Portland, believes that a repeat performance is on the cards despite the switch to BMW machinery and a new team this season.

“This track is wicked,” he said. “It really reminds me of a go-kart track. There are so many opportunities, it’s a really racy track. I just feel really comfortable out here for some reason.

“It clicked for me last year at the first practice and we were really fast all weekend long last year. Hopefully, we can do the same this weekend. I’m really looking forward to getting in the car because I love this place.”

Gottsacker is currently running a split program between GT4 America and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series with Bryan Herta Autosport’s Hyundai TCR program.

While he admitted to early challenges created by switching between disparate cars, he’s now enjoying the challenge and hopes to continue along the same lines into next season.

“It’s definitely two different worlds of racing cars,” he said. “That’s been a huge learning curve for me being able to hop back and forth between those styles of cars.

“It was a little bit hard for me at the beginning of the year but I’m really getting it. It’s craziness, but I love it.

“Hopefully I can continue with Hyundai and Bryan Herta Autosport and keep going in that direction with them. It’s a great program. I’d also love to be able to run with BMW wherever I can find an opportunity with those guys.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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