Gar Robinson is coming off a Pirelli World Challenge GTS career-best finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park where he finished second in Race 2. The Texan is making the transition to sports car racing after starting his professional career in the Trans Am ranks.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Robinson explains the adjustments he and his Robinson Racing team have had to make to get up to speed in PWC.
How far along do you feel in the process of getting used to GT4 racing after your previous experience in Trans Am?
“It’s definitely been more of a challenge than I was expecting, for sure. Our team was very used to running Trans Am cars, but the real difference has been the format.
“My team, next year, will be 30 years old. They definitely have a lot of experience with their generation of racing. This new PWC format with BoP and all of those rules, that’s been very challenge for us.
“We’ve almost had to the throw the kitchen sink at it to try and learn how to race this way.
“My guys came from an era when you had to build cars, you had to go development testing, and whoever thought of the new greatest part won in that era. That’s been a difficult transition for us, I think.
“Before I started Trans Am racing, they were just SVRA [vintage] racing with my dad and kind of slowing down, then I came along!”
What are your initial impressions of racing in Pirelli World Challenge?
“It’s been a challenge for us, a World Challenge you might say, but I think I’m maturing more as a driver.
“It’s helping me learn things that I didn’t think I would learn, little things like doing pit stops. That’s something I’ve never had to do before and doing that in the SprintX races is letting me learn that.
“When we were in Trans Am, there were a handful of guys in the field that could win the race. Here, we had 40 cars at VIR and you have probably 20 cars that can win the race. It’s definitely another caliber of driver and team that we are up against.
“That’s not to disparage any of the guys in Trans Am, they were excellent, but when you’re running against teams like Flying Lizard, who has been to Le Mans, or Blackdog, who has multiple championships, GMG, all those guys, they all have a lot of credibility.
“They’ve also been closer to current racing than my team has in recent years and they understand the game and how to operate. It’s a challenge but it’s something that we’re figuring out.”
What are the biggest differences between the Trans Am car that you drove and the Mercedes-AMG GT4?
“The T2 [Trans Am] car, the harder you beat it the faster it went. There were no creature comforts like you have in the GT4 car, which I’m a little undecided on how I feel about that.
“The GT4 car is all about precision and getting back to throttle at the right time and hitting marks perfectly.
“This is closer to something like a Spec Miata where if you’re off the throttle a couple of tenths too late or too early you’re going to go back to the back of the pack.”