Longtime SRO America competitor Jeff Courtney made the switch from the tried and true Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 to the Mercedes-AMG GT4 this season but didn’t have the debut he was hoping for in the Pirelli GT4 America season opener at Circuit of The Americas.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Courtney fills us in on his desire to get back racing, how his RecStuff Racing team is coping with the new protocols at the track, his expectations for VIR, and more.
What have the last few months of down time been like for you?
“I thought I would use this time to catch up on every little thing I’ve had hanging out there for years to clean up. That was nice on the surface, but fortunately I’ve been very busy company-wise at Badger Components.
“We were considered essential. We tried to have people working from home which worked OK. We tried to trim down our staff a little bit but we’re back up running full steam.
“It’s been super busy, so unfortunately I didn’t get to clean up any of that stuff that I wanted to!”
How prepared do you feel to get back to racing at VIR?
“I don’t know! I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in the car, just distraction-wise. I’m sad that [teammate] Fred [Roberts] can’t join us.
“Fred’s from Toronto, and although he could get an exemption the border is still closed and it’s a bit different going back up. When they quarantine, they do the real thing.
“We hope he’ll make it back later in the season. Other than that, we got upgrade kit for the car and did a half a day’s worth of testing but we haven’t done anything else.
“I’m eager to make up for our bad showing at COTA, I was pretty disappointed there.”
What lessons did you take away from COTA?
“The car was basically new to us, so we were still working on setup. I love VIR, it’s always been a good track for me. I’m excited about that, about the upgrades, and to get back at it.
“Hopefully it goes off without any issues. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through. We’ll just try to be as safe as we can.”
What is your level of excitement for getting back on track?
“I’m very eager to get back into the car. I’m still disappointed with COTA. I guess I’m going back there with a little chip because I just don’t like bad performances. I’m eager to get back out and prove we can still get it done.
“Most of all I’m excited to get our sponsors RecStuff.com and Kenda back out there in front of eyeballs, event if it’s just TV eyeballs. They’re involved in this for a reason so it’s good to get that back going.”
What are you expectations for your weekend?
“What’s the saying from Talladega Nights? There’s only one place to be! Realistically the Mercedes is still new to us. With the Maserati I could tell you what would be a good track for us and which ones where we’d struggle.
“I don’t know with this car. It’s kind of an unknown. But I like VIR and the fast, flowing parts of the track. I like that kind of stuff.
“One of the things from COTA, we weren’t the best handling car but we were really getting killed on the straightaway. This is a little different BoP but our ride heights are the same, so we’ll see.
“With this three race format, there’s a lot of track time. You’ll find out what kind of shape you’re in! Working out is one thing and race shape is another thing.”