2013 Circuit of the America’s Rolex GT #71 Race Report
First off I would like to make a few acknowledgements. I would like to thank our partners Godstone Ranch and their generous partners (in ABC order: Atlantic Trust, Baker Triangle, Berg Electric, Chamberlin, Haley-Greer, HKS, Hunt Construction, M3, Stowell, The Porter Co and White Lodging) who support the American Heart Association’s “Hands-Only CPR” awareness campaign.
Around 400,000 people die each year because there is not someone willing to give them traditional CPR. In many instances where CPR is needed it has been found that you can greatly increase the chances of survival if you simply follow these three easy steps: Call 911, Press Firmly on a person’s chest to the beat of “Staying Alive” and Continue until emergency teams arrive. It was an honor to drive for such a great cause and increase awareness of this important message.
I would also like to thank Team Monkey Cure Diabetes and their JoinTheBunch.net initiative to generate funding for research to find a cure for diabetes. A special thanks to HiTrust for their support of the entire Park Place Motorsports team as well. It is always great to have USLED on the car as they have supported my racing efforts for many years. Overall I would like to thank all the fans, friends, crew, family and supporters of the entire #71 effort as well as our other team cars #72 and #73 at Park Place Motorsports!!!
The drivers of the #71 car were John McCutchen, Chuck Cole and I, Jason Hart. The #71 car was a new car to the PPM team and the crew took it down to the tub and back after purchasing it from Ben Keating after the Daytona 24hr where it was the #66 car. During the practice sessions we worked through some new car teething issues and got all the drivers a bit of seat time to see where the road goes here at COTA. Our Crew Chief Phil Pierce was an amazing asset and with the resume and experience he brings was an honor to drive for. I would have to double check, but to my knowledge every driver went faster every time they drove the car. This says a lot about the drivers as well as Phil and his crew’s ability to always make positive improvements to the cars handling characteristics.
John did a great job qualifying the car by turning his best lap of the weekend so far and was positive about the last round of adjustments that were made to the car. As a younger driver lineup speaking of experience in the GT ranks we had moderate goals. Keep the car in one piece, don’t hit anything and stay on the lead lap. We accomplished 2 of our goals and just missed keeping it on the lead lap for a 12th place finish. A caution came just a few laps too late for our fuel strategy to keep us on the lead lap. Regardless of that John went on to turn an even faster lap in the race and kept the car completely clean after about 45mins of racing, great job John! Chuck was next up and a long green run meant he spent just under an hour in the car consistently turning faster laps than he had done in practice, another great job!
During the last pit stop we went a lap down and just before the caution came out the #44 car pit under green. When the caution came out he did not need to pit so it held us a lap down by a few seconds…”that’s racing”. If we had been a little luckier we would have stayed on the lead lap and looking at the lap times would have had a top 10 in my opinion. I will say I had a great time in the race and the car was great as well. I really enjoyed spending time with all of our partners for the race and will always have fond memories of the first GT race where I was the finishing driver.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all those who take the time to read this, followed and supported the #71 in the race and most importantly to the partners on the #71 car that make this all happen. Be great, J