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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Jason Bell

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass with GMG Racing driver Jason Bell…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO America

Jason Bell is embarking on an ambitious 2020 schedule in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America series as well as a GT Sports Club America campaign, all with an eye on winning the prestigious Porsche Cup.

In this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass, Bell outlines his plans for the upcoming season with GMG Racing, tells us why bringing Andrew Davis on as his co-driver will be a game changer, and more.

What are your plans for the 2020 season?

“I’m going to run three series, and I’m probably going to run the Indianapolis 8 Hour as well. Basically I’m trying to win the Porsche Cup, so I’m going to run the all of the GT2 races.

“I’ve been running the GT2 car in the SRO America Winter Series at Thermal and that went pretty well. I’m going to do all nine GT4 SprintX races, and I have Andrew Davis as my co-driver for all nine of them. We’re going to go for the Pro-Am championship.

“In years past, I’ve ran a lot of the races but the problem was I ran with a lot of different people, so I’d be Am, Pro-Am, and the points would be scattered everywhere.

“Basically I figured this year we’re going to run the SprintX GT4 with Andrew, and I’ll also be running the Sprint races and he’ll be there on those weekends.

“I’ve got three cars, the two GT4s and the GT2, and some weekends, I’ll have all of them there. We might do a couple of other races during the year depending on how things go, but that’s a lot of racing already.”

How much of a logistical challenge is that schedule going to be?

“It’s really just a lot of racing on one weekend. A lot of people think it sounds crazy, but it’s really not. It’s just expensive!

“But I figured it out and I should have about 50 races if you figure in two races per weekend per series, and in some cases I’ll have six races per weekend. I’ll know the track really well!

“It is a lot of racing, but when you figure for the SprintX I’m in the car maybe 25 minutes, the GT2 races are 40 minutes, and the Sprint races are 50 minutes.

“So really, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a lot of racing but I just like to keep going rather than sit around for four hours! It seems like it’s going to wind up being a cool year.”

You worked with Andrew Davis some last year. What does he bring to the program this season?

“Whenever there’s practice, the GT4 Sprint and SprintX have the same practice. In this case, Andrew and I will both be able to get the same amount of practice. That will help set up the cars.

“With him there, I think it’s going to make a huge difference. He’s just a super guy, super smart, and he takes care of the equipment really well. Plus he’s fast!

“He helps me by teaching the things it took him 15 years to learn. I don’t have 15 years to learn right now! Those kind of things made a huge difference at the race track. It’s a big deal.

“I think he’ll improve my Sprint racing by five or six positions, easy. He’ll be there for the GT2 and will help me in that. I went all out this year, so we’ll see!”

Have there been any changes on the team side with GMG?

“We have brought on for the full year Chris Andrews for our engineer. He is going to be engineering all of the cars. It’s a good deal. We have a good team.

“In the past we have had different engineers throughout the year, but this year we’ve locked it down to make a really good push. He was there for my first GT2 race and it went really well.

“We went really quick, we get along really well, so I’m excited about that.

“There were a couple of places I could have gone this year, but I decided to stay. Part of the reason is because we brought in Chris. It’s so important to be completely prepared.”

Are the GT2 and GT4 cars similar to drive?

“Yes, and that’s exactly why I’m excited about it. I think in 2017 I was racing the Audi and I did two GT3 races in a GT3 Audi, and it was a mess. I wasn’t driving the GT3 hard enough.

“But what’s so cool about these two cars is the corner speeds are about the same and the only difference is the GT2 car gets off the corner faster and is way quicker down the straightaway, but you’re still entering the corner at the same speed.

“When I was at Thermal, I noticed that I was faster than the GT3s in the straightaways but they just destroy you in the corners because of the downforce. There’s not downforce on the GT2 just like the GT4, so it handles almost the same.”

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