I’m really excited to be back with Freedom Autosport in the Mazda MX-5 for this weekend’s IMSA Continental Tire Series race at Road America. It was kind of a last-minute opportunity that has come together, and considering my background and my history with the team, it will be a sort of homecoming for me.

31_MRLSPodiumFreedomI’ll be co-driving with Britt Casey, Jr. in the No. 27 MX-5. The last time we drove together was in 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and we came away with a podium finish. I have so many great memories with the team, dating all the way back to 2008, as well as great memories with Britt. Having the opportunity to put this all together at an iconic track like Road America is going to be special.

Although it’s all really exciting, the preparation is going to be important. It’s short notice for me, and there are critical things to do, such as re-familiarizing myself with the car. While it should fit like a glove since I drove it for so many seasons, the car evolves and changes each year, and I haven’t been in it for two years.

That acclimation will be important, but so will acclimating to the circuit, especially with the pace and traffic of this series. After driving at Road America for a couple seasons in the RT24-P, I’ve gotten used to the speed and the way the car feels under braking and acceleration, the way the car shifts, and other factors. From physically driving the car to mirror locations – everything is different between the RT24-P and an MX-5!

The race will be fun, but I have a lot of mental preparation ahead of me. I’ll be looking back through old track notes and video to re-acclimate myself, and I’ll be doing visualization for the basics, like heel-toe shifting, where the shifter is, and even how it shifts (back to a manual gearbox!). Everything needs to come together, and having a little mental preparation will go a long way. The MX-5 is what I’ve grown up with, but after two seasons in a different type of car, it’s important to get those old habits back quickly.

I’ll also be transitioning from the fastest class in the WeatherTech Series to being in the slower class in the Continental Series, so traffic management will be completely different and it will be fun to get back into that groove. The series has changed quite a bit since I last drove in it, plus the pace of the faster GS class has accelerated, so that means traffic in the series is different now.

You can follow the team’s progress this weekend on the IMSA app or IMSA.com through practice on Friday and qualifying and the race on Saturday!