Colin Mullan impressed in his SRO America debut at Sonoma Raceway after being drafted in to Andretti Autosport’s lineup in the eleventh hour. Teamed with Jarett Andretti, a role he will reprise in Portland, Mullan rapidly adapted to the team’s McLaren 570S GT4 and scored a class win and overall podium on Sunday.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Mullan fills us in on how the deal came together, how driving the McLaren was more similar to driving a MINI than you might think, and more.
How did the opportunity to join Andretti Autosport come about?
“Everything came together a week beforehand. I got out of school on Thursday and on Friday we got the call from John Andretti that they needed a Bronze driver.
“They heard about me, I live close to the track, so we got it all sorted out. All the paperwork, licensing, it was a bit of a pain to get one week ahead of the race, but I was super happy with the SRO.
“Everyone was working to get me on track on Thursday. It was really fantastic how everything came together.”
Have you ever had a deal come together at the last minute before?
“I wouldn’t say like this, but I was certainly surprised with Team USA last year. I should add that I owe a lot to one of the LA Honda World owners Mike LaMarra.
“We drive together in another series, and he’s good friends with John Andretti.
“He mentioned me and some other drivers to John, but because I live so close to Sonoma and John heard about me from Mike, I really owe him a huge thanks for helping to put this together.”
How would you assess your performance on track?
“I think it was good. My pace was certainly there. We had a great car behind us and the team was working day and night to get everything prepared and ready for the race.
“We were constantly going through changes, trying different things to see if we could help the setup at all, and everyone was fantastic.
“On track, I didn’t want to be the guy who wrecked the car in the first race, but we certainly had the pace. Our results were pretty good.
“I was happy with a third overall and a class win for sure on Sunday. Hopefully those results translate to more in the future.”
How does the McLaren compare to other cars you have driven?
“It’s funny, I think of the McLaren more like driving the MINI to be honest than the Honda TCR. The McLaren is very much a street car so you still have all the electronic assists that you find on a normal street car.
“We have the electronic speed control, the stock ABS, and the stock traction control. With the Honda TCR that I’ve driven, it has a full-on race ABS kit and that’s about it.
“With the Honda you want to stay in the ABS as much as possible, whereas with the McLaren you’re kind of avoiding it into the brake zone.
“Back to the MINI, the MINI was also based on a street car. You want to stay out of the assists as much as possible, so I’ve had to adapt my driving style from the Honda and bring it back to what I was used to with the MINI.”
Did that surprise you?
“Yes, definitely. But in the end, every car is different, but in the end it’s still a race car so you have to adapt your driving to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”