Rearden Racing is coming off a succesful season of Pirelli GT4 American and TC America competition that saw drivers Vesko Kozarov and Jeff Burton take home the GT4 SprintX West Am championship. The team is also staying busy this offseason in the SRO’s new Winter Series at The Thermal Cub.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, team owner Lara Tallman talks about the 2019 season, her return to driving in the Winter Series, and a new partnership for the team in 2020.
How did your 2019 season for Rearden Racing mesh with your expectations? What were the highlights?
“It did. That’s always relative, but Vesko and Jeff did a great job and they did win their championship, which was what we set out to do.
“That was the highlight: the races they led, the races they were on pole, the consistency of the car, and the team. We had higher hopes for Paul Terry [in TC America] but unfortunately it didn’t work out.
“Sometimes that’s the way it goes. I think that overall he really improved, but for sure it was a rough year for him and the team, but he did make some real strides in his driving and racing.”
As a team, what lessons did you take away from the season?
“It was a very transitional year, especially with the series doing all the different classes. Sometimes it was confusing.
“I think simple is good and running for the highest level championship makes sense rather than all the little confusing things.
“Jeff and Vesko ended up running a lot of extra races so it’s unfortunate they didn’t just run for the full season championship.
“Also, it’s really important to have a strong relationship with your manufacturer Moving into 2020, that has been a big goal of ours.”
What made the SRO’s winter series something of interest to you and the team?
“For us it’s great because we’re a west coast team. It’s a lot of fun, it has a lot of car eligibility, it’s great for some of our drivers who are just getting started and need more time.
“I think it’s wonderful for drivers who are interested in the series but they are just learning about it and want to try it out. It’s always wonderful to be at The Thermal Club in the winter, it’s just lovely there.”
You have been driving in the winter series as well, how has that been?
“Yes, I’m doing the full series. Simply the fact that it’s an easier schedule and I could take the time, it became possible.
“In the regular series, I have my hands full with the work that I have to do and it’s not really feasible for me to drive and do the things that I have to do as team owner.
“With this series being a little more relaxed, I can manage it. It’s been a blast. That Nissan is so hooked up, it’s such a good car.
“Some of the guys who were new to the series didn’t realize that I had a manual transmission and they were like, ‘Oh, you have to shift! Wow!’
“That 370Z is such a great platform. I’m sorry that we won’t be doing anything with it in touring car this year.”
What can you tell us about your plans for 2020?
“We have a strong lineup in GT4 with Jeff and Vesko back again with our new car. There are still announcements to be made, but we are solidifying a partnership with Aston Martin and we love the car.
“So far we’re really optimistic about the partnership and things moving forward. We have two of the cars now and will be running two in the next winter race.
“Another of our drivers, Dmitri [Novikov] has one, and he will be doing select GT4 races in 2020. We have a couple other guys doing select races in 2020, too.”