PF Racing driver Jade Buford will be sharing his Ford Mustang GT4 with longtime co-driver Scott Maxwell for the first Pirelli World Challenge SprintX round of the season this weekend at Circuit of The Americas.
This week on the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Buford assesses the stacked GTS field and outlines the challenges of the COTA layout as he looks to get his teammate Maxwell up to speed for ahead of his first PWC start.
What do you think is behind the growth of GTS and the high level of competition in the class this year?
“I think it’s obvious that SprintX has caused the field to expand substantially. We had an impressive field at St. Pete with 27 cars and now we have an even more impressive field with 38 cars.
“It’s kind of unreal and it’s going to be crazy going into Turn 1.”
Does that put an extra emphasis on qualifying this weekend?
“It does because we know that if you’re mid-pack, that’s 20 cars in front of you. That’s a lot of cars, usually a whole field. We definitely don’t want to be back there.
“We want to be able to control our whole race as usual, do the best we can and see where our pace is. We’ll go from there.”
What is it like to be paired with Scott Maxwell again?
“It’s always good. We’ve been teammates for so long now, we’re basically family. It’s good to have him in the car. We both like the same stuff and we know exactly what is expected of each other. It’s a good, even pairing.”
What have you been telling him to get him up to speed with Pirelli World Challenge before his first series start?
“We’re taking that a little slow. We gave him some heads up on how the format is going to run, what to expect. It’s just going to be get in and drive the car as usual.”
How unique is this track at COTA, especially coming on the heals of a street course at St. Pete?
“It’s significantly different than what we came from at St. Pete, although it has changed over the years.
“F1 tracks, you would think, are going to be glass smooth, and it’s developed some bumps that might play to our advantage or disadvantage, we’re not sure.
“This car has only run here once and it’s never run here on Pirellis, so we’re going to have to see how it actually does, but I think we’re going to be good. The bumpier the better.”