IMSA was at Watkins Glen last weekend, and it is always one of my favorite events of the year—there are a lot of IMSA series competing there during the weekend, and that track is one of the most iconic venues on the schedule.
It was a successful weekend on many fronts. Congratulations to Mazda on their first win in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship with their prototype program! Congratulations are also in order for co-drivers Ashton Harrison and Stephanie Cemo, who I got to help on their way to two podium finishes in the Lamborghini SuperTrofeo Series.
Giving hot laps to VIPs in a Mazda6 is always fun, but it’s especially exciting around the incredible curves of Watkins Glen. Several weeks ago I coached at Watkins Glen, and I talked about how one of the biggest parts of learning the track is to get over the fear of the blue guardrail that lines the circuit. Many of the guests I gave a hot lap to were very conscious of the guardrail, too, but they thoroughly enjoyed their ride around the fast and challenging circuit! The turbo-charged Mazda6 really pulls up the long hills, so a lap of Watkins Glen is a lot of fun in that car.
It was also fun to work with Ashton Harrison again—I first coached her in Mazda Global MX-5 Cup. This is my first event working with Stephanie, who is new to IMSA competition. Watkins Glen was the second event of the Lamborghini season, and it was apparent in practice and qualifying that both drivers were going to be really competitive in the two Lamborghini races that weekend. Beyond helping with learning the nuances of the circuit, I was also able to coach them on the radio during the races, which was a lot of fun since I got a front-row seat to their progress. Ashton and Stephanie finished second in both races, giving them their first professional podium finishes!
This week I’ll be on the road to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Toronto for the next IMSA event. I’m looking forward to more exciting opportunities and success this coming weekend!