Teenager Parker Chase has a busy schedule this week as he prepares for both his high school class final exams and the Castrol presents the Victoria Day Speedfest Pirelli World Challenge weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Chase, the 17-year-old from New Braunfels, Tex., is one of the rising stars of the world of sports car racing in North America. But he also knows school work is at the top of the agenda this week as well, in addition to driving the No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS.
“I have six classes right now at Canyon High School and we are coming up on finals,” said Chase.
“It seems like a big learning year for me. I’m in school for classes and I am learning in the new GT3 Audi as well. But it is so much fun driving the GT3 this year. I can’t wait to get to CTMP this weekend.”
Chase, who was regular podium finisher at age 16 in the GTS division last year, jumped up to the GT category this year with a new team and a new teammate.
Veteran Ryan Dalziel, a 24 Hours of Daytona winner, has served as Chase’s co-driver in the GT SprintX races as well as a driving coach for the teenager.
On weekends that Dalziel isn’t teaming up with Parker, he assists in the youngster’s transition to the highly-competitive GT3 ranks.
“I knew there would be a big jump from the Ginetta GT4 car last year to the GT3 Audi R8 this year,” said Chase. “Ryan is one of the best GT3 drivers in North America and his guidance has been a huge help for me.
“He isn’t an engineer, but he knows so many things regarding setups and car changes. That is has been a big help for me in my rookie season in GT3. He also helps me in driving styles and what to expect with the car as the race goes on.”
For Chase, the Audi has proven to be the right vehicle for his jump to GT3 this year.
“The Audi is such a great car to drive,” he said. “It was smoother than I thought. I drove a GT3 Porsche last year in a race and it wasn’t very easy, to be honest. But this Audi is a tremendous race car.
“I’m still in my racing learning curve and the Audi is a great car to learn with in the GT class. We have picked up a great engineer in Peter Baron, who really knows the Audi race car. We have been improving with each race.”
Chase knew his development in the classroom and on the racetrack would go at a similar pace in 2018. And his development in the Audi has grown with each PWC event.
“Just being in a GT3 car is so much fun, especially for a young driver like myself,” he said. “I’m on the track with some of the world’s best drivers and I continue to learn from them on the track.
“The racing this year in the GT classes has been very aggressive, and I have to be ready for those guys. You have to be much more aggressive to be competitive with the GT3 cars.
“That has been a big learning curve for my racing with the aggressive style of driving. I’m the youngest out there and some of the veterans try to take advantage of me sometimes. I knew that would be the case.
“I have to fight back and protect my line and my position on the track. Ryan has taught me a lot this year regarding my race craft.”