Reigning Pirelli GT4 America Silver champion Colin Mullan is set to make his return to the series this weekend at Road America with the new JMF Motorsports / Conquest Racing collaboration in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 alongside Michai Stephens.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Mullan describes how the opportunity came to be, what the team’s plans for the future hold in store, and more.
How did your opportunity to return to SRO America come about?
“It all pretty much started earlier this year back in January and February. I got a call pretty much out of the blue from Jeremy Shaw.
“Jeremy was helping Danny Kok, who is a Mercedes Performance Driving Instructor and is involved in LMP3 with Conquest Racing as well, put together a short list of drivers that would go into a shootout for a GT4 program opportunity.
“I was one of six drivers that went the shootout at Buttonwillow and as a result three of us ended up under the JMF Motorsports program.
“The team is a project started by John Farrow who is a Canadian businessman who absolutely loves the sport. He has a huge passion for it and he wanted to help out some young drivers.
“The original plan was to run this year partially in some club-level endurance series with Mercedes-AMG GT4 program and help some drivers get more experience in a series GT car before transitioning into a pro-level series like SRO Pirelli GT4 America.
“With that plan in mind, I was a little over-qualified to be honest having just won the Silver championship last year. As a result of that they had an available seat in the LMP3 car for Prototype Challenge so I’ve been racing that this year before this came up.”
Who is behind the JMW Motorsports team?
“Basically it’s a brand new team under Conquest Racing. Eric Bachelart, who’s been around for decades in IndyCar and sports car racing, he’s heading this program with a whole new set of people.
“It was a pretty last-minute deal that we were able to put together for Road America. We did a shakedown at Putnam Park this week which went well.
“I owe a huge thanks to Eric for helping to put this together, and to John Farrow for the opportunity and for helping out some young drivers with their careers.
“There’s no sign of John stopping this team any time soon. He really wants to keep progressing with an eye on bigger things. The plan is to be in GT4 America next year and the rest of this season.
Where did John Farrow’s inspiration to start the team come from?
“He really found the passion for it in recent years doing track days in his own Mercedes that makes over 1000 horsepower. He’s always excited to tells stories of his own track day endeavors. He got to know Danny [Kok] through the Mercedes Ice Driving Academy. He wanted to get into racing and Danny was the connection for him that got him to Conquest Racing. In addition to driving his cars himself he really wanted to help young drivers. It’s really neat and all of us are really happy to be a part of it.
Both you and Michai Stephens are Team USA scholarship graduates. How instrumental was that program in helping to secure this opportunity?
“Jeremy [Shaw] has been phenomenal. He’s always looking out for Team USA drivers to help get opportunities here and there.
“Out of the six drivers at the shootout I believe four or five of us were former Team USA scholarship recipients.
“It goes to show the value of the scholarship keeping my name out there even outside of the open-wheel world which is primarily what it’s designed for.”
Did your experience in the McLaren 570S GT4 from the last two seasons help at all in the shootout?
“At the end of the day they are both still sports cars and race in the same category but they really couldn’t drive any more differently.
“Back in January and early February we had the car unrestricted from any BoP so back then it was making 550 horsepower and it was definitely a handful in that mode.
“Driving at Putnam Park in the test it was the first time that Michai and I got a taste of it in SRO spec. The experience in the McLaren went a long way but you’re still learning a lot.”