This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Shane Lewis looks back on Robinson Racing’s first season in Pirelli World Challenge, the switch in machinery mid-season, the highlights of his season, and more.
How would you assess the team’s first season in Pirelli World Challenge?
“You could call it a transition year in in two ways, one transitioning from Trans-Am to Pirelli World Challenge, then transitioning mid-season from Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
“There were a lot of things going on. The good part is that the Robinson Racing team has been together a long time and they’re a really solid group of guys.
“It was almost seamless because they were so professional, which is great to be involved in a group that is so professional, but we knew that year one was going to be about learning the ropes, the cars, the series.
“We haven’t run under BoP rules and those type of things and it takes a little to adjust to that.”
What was the biggest adjustment in coming from Trans-Am?
“The Robinson team did the most development of any team that I’ve seen or worked with in Trans-Am. They really took and developed every part and piece on the race car.
“Getting to Pirelli World Challenge with homologated cars and Balance of Performance, not being allowed to be as hands on with every part and piece was probably the toughest part.”
What did it mean to you to score a podium for Mercedes-AMG at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?
“I was the first guy to ever be on the podium in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in North America. I think that’s really cool! I was really honored to be that guy.
“I hope that Mercedes and everybody who works for Mercedes is as proud of that accomplishment as I am. I’m really proud of that, I loved the car, and it was just awesome that weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.”
From a driving perspective, how were you able to adapt so quickly to the Camaro from the Mercedes-AMG?
“The Mercedes and the Camaro are different cars, they’re different to drive, they have certain different aspects, but one of the reasons that I really like Pirelli World Challenge is that we’re all on a very good tire.
“I’m not just saying that. This Pirelli that we’re on is a good tire.
“They have great performance, they can last a long time, you can heat cycle them, I think that one of the biggest balances of performance in the whole series is that the tire is good on everybody’s car.”
What was the highlight of your season?
“Both Gar and I being on the podium at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, me one day and him the next, that was a really big deal.
“Also, from a fun standpoint for me and Gar, we had a blast driving together in SprintX. We really had fun doing the driver changes and everything else.
“I will say that getting a chance to co-drive with him in the same car was a highlight.”
What does the team need to do to take another step forward next year?
“We’re on that path now from everything that we’ve learned throughout the year with both the Mercedes and the Camaro. I don’t think it’s going to be one thing.
“Because of Balance of Performance and because the cars are so close competition-wise, we’ve realized that we’re not looking for one silver bullet.
“Instead, we’re looking for a hundred BBs to polish those hundred little things we need to do well to make one really good race car. What we’re doing now is refining every small piece that we can.”