Nico Jamin is hoping his diverse and successful start to the 2017 season will pay dividends, as the young Frenchman seeks victory in a third different type of car in the span of a month this weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
The 21-year-old Mazda Road to Indy star, who is fresh off a maiden win in last weekend’s Indy Lights race at Barber Motorsports Park, is set for his Pirelli World Challenge debut at the wheel of ANSA Motorsports’ KTM X-Bow GT4 in the GTS Sprint division.
It comes less than six weeks after Jamin swept the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda Series season-opening weekend at Sebring in a Ligier JS P3 prototype, also with ANSA.
For the former US F2000 champion, establishing himself not only as an open-wheel ace but also a successful driver who can excel in other racing disciplines has been high on his priority list.
“Anything that has four wheels and we can race, I’m always up for it,” Jamin told Sportscar365.
“I think it’s good for a driver to be known as a very diversified driver, to be able to hop in anything and make it win.
“That’s what I did in the LMP3, that’s what I’ll try to do again this weekend.
“You never know if your career will end up in single-seater car or if it will end up in sports cars. I think it’s good to be a little bit on both sides, and if anything happens wrong for me in single seater I will have a backup in sports car.”
Jamin’s latest dip into the sports car racing world has again come courtesy of the Alain Nadal-owned team, which has fielded X-Bow GT4s in the PWC GTS division for the last two years.
His first laps in the KTM came in Thursday’s promoter test day at VIR in what’s marked another quick learning curve.
“It’s great fun, it’s a good car,” Jamin said. “It’s a lot slower than what I’m used to, but very fun to drive and we have a very competitive field in GTS.
“We all have strengths and weaknesses. In the KTM, it’s the corner because the chassis is quite good, but we’re a lot slower on the straight line so let’s see how we can race with the other guys.”
Despite his limited experience with the car, Jamin has set the bar high for his PWC debut.
“Anything I drive, I always want to win,” he said. “The goal for this weekend is to win for sure. We’ll see if I have the pace in qualifying.
“I think we’ll be right up there, but the race, it will be weird racing with all the BoP so we’ll see how that goes.”
While currently a one-off, as was the case with his LMP3 foray, Jamin said he hasn’t ruled out additional PWC outings later in the year, as long as it doesn’t conflict with his Indy Lights program, which takes priority.
The Andretti Autosport driver currently sits third in the championship and his eye already on the Lights title and the $1 million scholarship from Mazda that comes with it to secure a drive in the Indianapolis 500.
“My two big dreams are doing the Indy 500 and Le Mans, so I’m on the good way to the Indy 500 because if I do a good season this year and win the championship, I will be in the Indy 500 next year,” he said.
“Le Mans, it’s a bit more far away for me because I’m not known as a sports car driver right now. That’s what I’m trying to do: show that I can do both.
“I showed it in the LMP3. I know that I have the pace and the consistency of a top driver in a prototype car, but I have to show it. Teams don’t know that yet. I’m working on it.”