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GT World Challenge America

Edwards Relishing “Change of Pace” at ST Racing

John Edwards hoping to help ST Racing grow as part of new Pro-Am alliance with Samantha Tan…

Photo: BMW

John Edwards labeled his upcoming Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS campaign with ST Racing as a “change of pace” moving into what he describes as more of a development role with the team.

Edwards is gearing up for a full-season effort, partnering with team co-owner Samantha Tan aboard its BMW M4 GT3.

For the 31-year-old, it will be his first full season in GTWC America competition, although he has previously taken part in a handful of SRO America events.

Since the vast majority of his BMW-linked career has been spent racing with Team RLL, the new program with Tan provides Edwards with a significant change of scenery heading into a new season.

“I’ve only done two SRO America weekends,” Edwards told Sportscar365.

“The first was years ago in the first year of the SprintX Championship and then obviously did the Indy 8 Hour last October.

“So for me, aside from the change of pace from the team perspective and having a little bit of a different role, call it a more developmental role with the team.

“I’m also getting to participate in a series that I have very little experience in.

“In fact, as many years as I’ve been around, I’ve never actually raced at Sonoma.

“I’ve only done one test day at NOLA and so for me showing up to some places that I haven’t been, obviously there’s some crossover with Indianapolis and Sebring and various tracks, but there’s still a couple tracks, especially Sonoma, that I’ve always wanted to drive on and I’ve never had the chance.

“So it’s an exciting change of pace for me in that regard as well.”

Edwards admitted that the pairing up with Tan came as a something of a surprise, given he had followed the team’s progress and didn’t predict the recruitment of a factory driver for its sophomore year with the M4 GT3.

“I had expected that they would continue this year with another similar program to what they did last year with another Am and that it would stay that way,” he said.

“So I got the call from BMW that they were looking to again take another step and kind of move into the Pro-Am category and again step up into a more competitive environment.

“That’s where I came in. I can join in and be on the Pro-Am lineup and so I think it’ll be a fun experience for me, seeing that the team is obviously growing and expanding and doing all the right things, but they’re also stepping up each year.

“It’s different to what I’ve been doing over the years with an established program and so it maybe puts me in a situation with obviously quite a bit of experience at that level to maybe help the team grow in the right direction.

“So I’m looking at it as a fun experience and a cool position to be in.”

Sprint-Focused Format Appealing to Edwards

Edwards added that one of the main things he’s looking forward to competing in GTWC America is the shorter, sprint-focused race format.

“I would say what draws me more to the SRO championship and what I’m more excited for, is that in IMSA, putting aside Long Beach which is only 100 minutes, our standard distance race is two hours and 40 minutes,” he said.

“So going here with two races of an hour-and-a-half each means you’re only in the car for 45 minutes, which means you’re going to be flat out the entire time.

“There’s no management. Obviously the tires maybe you have to manage a little bit but there’s no thought of, ‘Oh we can go for this later in the race.’

“When it’s an hour-and-a-half, it’s a sprint race, essentially. So when you’re in the car for only 45 minutes, you’re going to push flat out the whole time.

“So it’ll be a nice, interesting change for me to have that approach, whereas in an IMSA race, if you start the race, you’ve got two hours and 40 minutes.

“You’re pushing hard, it’s a sprint race and track position matters, but you still have that extra 70 minutes on the race length to come back from any issues that you don’t have in SRO.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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