It’s no secret to anyone that it’s not easy to make it as a professional race car driver. It takes many years and a lot of funding to make it up through the ranks, and even then, no one is guaranteed to have a career in this sport. This year, I’ve been fortunate enough to race with two incredible teams in SRO America’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: DXDT Racing and Era Motorsport. While racing for two teams keeps me on the road for many weeks out of the year, it also keeps me sharp, allowing my doubled, and sometimes tripled track time to directly benefit both teams.
I was asked to write a little story about my DXDT Racing year to date, but it’s hard not to discuss my season as a whole, especially last weekend where I got the opportunity to race the IMSA Road America event with Era Motorsport. As many of you know, I joined ERA for this season to race the IMSA endurance races, ELMS, and the 24 hours of Le Mans. We started the season with a bang, winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, followed that up with a strong runner-up spot at the Sebring 12 hours, but since then we have been in a little bit of a funk. In ELMS we have struggled to get to grips with the Goodyear tires and at Watkins Glen 6 Hour we had an unfortunate electrical issue that took us out of the race early. We knew at Watkins our car was super-fast on the Michelin tires so we decided to compete at Road America for several reasons. Firstly, it’s Road America in a Prototype–haha. Secondly, we wanted to get co-driver Dwight Merriman some last-minute track time for Le Mans prep, and with the high-speed nature of Road America, it was the perfect venue. And lastly, I think we as a team felt we had some unfinished business to take care of. Thankfully it paid off, we won the race, and Dwight got some great seat time and traffic management experience. It was a successful weekend overall, and now off to Le Mans for the big one.
Back to the topic at hand: DXDT Racing. To call them a team isn’t fair, we are very much a family at this point. David Askew hired me at the end of 2018 and I am super proud of what we have created from a one-car operation to a now five-car Mercedes AMG GT3 customer racing operation. David very much had a vision and I think one step at a time, we are making that vision a reality. We have certainly had some ups and downs on the #63 car this year but as a team, we have executed very well with both the #04 and the #19 cars scoring race wins in 2021.
Not only am I David’s co-driver but I am also his driver coach on our race weekends and the massive steps forward he makes each weekend is really rewarding to me. I was immensely bummed this last weekend not to be with him at Nashville’s Music City Grand Prix (due to the IMSA Road America conflict) but was really impressed with his performance on his first-ever street course and what looked like a tough circuit to learn. His strong performance on a new type of track proves the strength of our program from drivers to engineering and crew. He learned the circuit fast and had the right support to get up to speed comfortably and quickly. His double-podium weekend is a testament to all the men and women at DXDT Racing and the quality of the program David has built.
Speaking of Nashville, that place looked amazing, and full credit to the promoter for putting on what looked like an exciting event. I know people don’t always like street courses due to yellow flags and such, but let’s be honest: watching cars run around in line with no passing also sucks, so I’ll take the exciting option every time. Hopefully next year SRO keep it on the schedule but make it for the GT World Challenge racers. Our management couldn’t have enough nice things to say about the event, from the southern hospitality to the circuit itself. It sounds like an amazing event to be a part of, and I hope we all get that chance next year.
The next few months are really busy, which after my partial 2019 and 2020 seasons I have no complaints about (my wife, however, maybe some complaints). I leave this week for the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day on August 15th, then we race the following weekend. From there it’s straight back to the USA for the next SRO DXDT Racing race at Road America, and like we mentioned at the start, I LOVE Road America. We had pole position there last year with our DXDT AMG GT3 so I know we can back up a strong 2020 run. From there we go straight to Watkins Glen for a two-day test to prepare for the mid-September SRO race. Then thankfully, I have a weekend off, which is perfect timing since it’s also my amazing wife Jessica’s birthday that week (August 30th) so looking forward to spending it with her and our crazy two dogs, Veronica Corningstone and Zoe.
In addition to DXDT and Era, I also have two full-time coaching clients, Fall-Line Motorsports (a wide range of cool clients and projects) and Justin Wetherill (Ferrari challenge competitor) so I keep myself quite busy, and that’s when I am happiest in this sport.
Hope everyone is enjoying the racing season and staying safe. Feel free to shoot me DM’s on social media if you have any questions about my season and great teams.