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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Nate Vincent

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass with FCP Euro director of motorsports, driver Nate Vincent…

Photo: FCP Euro Motorsports FB

Nate Vincent is the 2019 TC America TCR runner-up and the director of motorsport for FCP Euro, but he and the team had to cut his 2020 program short due to COVID-19. This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Vincent discusses his prolonged offseason, how FCP Euro became involved in sim racing, and hints at exciting plans for 2021.

What have you been doing to stay sharp to keep you ready to get back in a race car in 2021?

“We made the decision as a team at St. Pete to come home when everything started to really ramp up. It was definitely tricky.

“It was trickier in the beginning when we didn’t know what was going to happen, but towards the end we determined that this season had gotten away from us and [returning] was not worth the risk.

“It’s like anything else, you come to accept it. It is what it is. As for staying sharp, I probably shouldn’t say this in an interview but I do feel like I’ve started to slip more than I should have.

“Coming back to the Esports stuff has been really nice to regenerate that muscle memory and the feeling of driving. I did do a lot of coaching at local events with a lot of the guys at the shop.

“I drove a whole bunch of cars, did a lot of coaching, looked at a lot of data, but it wasn’t at the professional level. It was nice, but I’m very anxious and excited to get back in a car.”

What led to the involvement with the SRO to be the title sponsor for it’s Esports championship?

“Our motorsport program is run primarily with our partners like Liqui-Moly and Corteco in mind. We felt bad because we had to make a business decision [to withdraw from the 2020 season].

“They understood, but it meant we weren’t out promoting their products. We wanted to promote these brands as much as possible, and we were missing our motorsport community a little bit.

“That’s when we began talking to the SRO people. This is a really great opportunity to network in the motorsport community and get our names back out there but also to promote our partners.

“It checked a whole bunch of boxes. It was a little intimidating doing our first race. I maybe had 20 hours total on the rig before the first race so I was very much learning it.

“But I’m starting to get it and it’s coming a little bit easier now.”

Are your rigs set up at the team’s shop?

“We had the rigs at the shop initially because we wanted to bring it back to FCP Euro Motorsports, but since then we’ve actually moved the rigs back to our homes because coming in for six hours on a Sunday wasn’t the best for us when we both have families.

“We could always make the excuse that coming in on Sunday is still less time consuming than a real race weekend but that didn’t really go over well so we moved them back home.”

What can you tell us about your 2021 plans?

“We’re staying a little hush-hush about it now but I can give a couple of ideas. We are moving past Volkswagen, you might have heard the news that Volkswagen is withdrawing from motorsports, so we’re moving on to something new.

“It is very strategic and it’s placed with the company first. All of our motorsport is focused around pushing the company forward. It looks like [teammate] Michael Hurczyn and I will be sharing a car. You can read between the lines there.

“We’re excited to be moving at some level into the GT ranks with new cars and we’re very excited about it. Michael and I both have a lot of experience with endurance racing, that’s where we got our starts.

“But this is hearkening back to 2015, 2016 when this program kicked off.”

What is the level of excitement from everyone on the team to get back to racing next year?

“I think everyone is very, very excited. Everyone just wants to get out and do some fun stuff and get back to a race track. We miss everyone that we race with.

“There’s a lot of emotion around it. No matter what it takes, no matter how many late nights, everyone wants to get back out and back into it.”

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