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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Aaron Povoledo

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass with Pirelli GT4 America driver Aaron Povoledo…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO America

Aaron Povoledo and Ross Chouest debuted their new 3R Povoledo Racing team in the last SRO America weekend at Watkins Glen, earning a pair of podiums in GT America powered by AWS and strong results in Pirelli GT4 America competition.

This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Povoledo details how the program came together in a short amount of time, how he and Chouest began working together, their plans for the future, and more.

What was the timeline for getting this team together and on the track for Watkins Glen after the car you had been racing with another team was damaged at Road America?

“Necessity is the mother of invention. We found out on the Tuesday before the race weekend that the car we had been driving wasn’t going to be available.

“We had just purchased the Aston Martin because we felt it would be the best bet moving forward, but we hadn’t taken delivery of it, we hadn’t even touched it.

“Ross and I have missed a few races this season due to crashes, cars being broken, bad luck and whatnot and I really want Ross to get more seat time.

” Ross is fast, he doesn’t need a lot of practice to lay down a fast lap, but he doesn’t have 20 years of race craft practice.

“The decision was made to pull the trigger and get this car on track for Watkins Glen even if it’s a compromised effort because we will learn more in those three days than if we take our time and go do some private testing someplace else.”

Who made it possible to pull this off in such a short amount of time and hit the ground running?

“Dax Raub from 3R, Rick Maxwell, they are the linchpins of the technical side of this whole team. It was in conversation with those two guys that I got the bravery to pull the trigger and do it.

“They basically said we can pull this off, it’s going to be really, really tough, but between us we can get this done.

“Dax is our head engineer, Rick is car chief and crew chief, and we would not have been on track if it wasn’t for what Rick was able to do in such a short amount of time.

“Aston Martin supported us so much: [North American distributors] Cy Jary and his wife Susan and the parts and technical support; their head engineer was on the phone with me at midnight Friday night working through things.

“We could not have done this without all of them, plus Dexter Racing. Warren Dexter spent a day on our car when it got to their shop and he got a lot of stuff done that we needed to get done.

“That Thursday night at the race track the whole Dexter crew was there until one in the morning. We can’t thank them enough because we would not have been on the track the next day if it wasn’t for them.

“True racers, good guys, everybody pulled together and we got the car out there.”

Were you expecting to be so competitive right out of the box?

“It exceeded any of my expectations, definitely. We’re going to learn more about this car, and I really wish we had more than 10 days between Sebring and the next race [at Indianapolis]. We’re still behind the eight ball.

“We still need to mold proper seats: I’m still sitting in duct tape and padding! At the same time, it’s a testament to the Aston Martin. You really can add gas, take it to a track, and be competitive.

“Aston gives us a fantastic baseline setup and we were obviously in the ballpark with it.”

How did you and Ross begin working together?

“I met Ross at a dinner party ahead of a private lapping event at Sebring about 10 years ago. We just happened to be sitting next to each other at a table.

“We were a similar age so we started talking and he told me he was going to be driving a Ferrari Challenge car he had just bought. I asked him what he’d been racing before that and he said: nothing!

“He had done a couple of track days in street cars and that was it! He didn’t have a coach so I worked it out with my client that weekend to start working with him, show him around the track and give some basics of what to look for.

“At first he wasn’t really taking it seriously but very quickly that changed. He wanted to do it right. He’s worked really hard at it and it’s starting to pay off. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him!”

What is your role with 3R Povoledo Racing?

“My initial job with Ross when I started working with him 10 years ago was teaching him how to drive fast. As he got more involved in the sport it has evolved into being the manager of his racing activities.

“What team to go to, what car to buy, what’s the best strategy to use the budget that we have for the season, I’ve overseen all of that stuff. This is just the next step.

“Ross is committed for the long term and wants to have a scenario where he can control the process, he can have the quality control.

“The vision for this is to create a complete transparency of accounting so he knows where every one of his dollars is going, because it is his group, and control over who the people are.

“My management plan for this is to ask the experts. I ask Dax, I ask Rick: what does the car need? How much time do you want to work on it? What parts do you need? And my job then is to make sure they have those things.”

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