Last weekend marked the first round for SRO America—a series that comes from the former World Challenge Series—at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). A new Touring Car team that I have been working with was competing, and it was the first pro event ever for both of the team’s drivers.

Rather than showing up with just a hope for some good luck, we did our homework and tested at COTA the month before the race with drivers Caleb Bacon and Matt Forbush. Not only were we there to learn the nuances of the circuit, since both drivers had never been there, but we were also there to learn the cars, which were new for the team.

Part of our track familiarization was a detailed track walk after the first day of on-track activity.

Part of our track familiarization was a detailed track walk after the first day of on-track activity.

There was a lot of information gathering during the test, both in terms of learning the track and learning the car. By the end of the test, we were able to identify the specific corners that were going to be important in the race. We also came away with a “to-do list” for the cars to ensure we got them properly prepared and set up for the race.

Having a set of focused goals is what cultivated the team’s success in the first race. Both drivers put in an excellent performance, with Caleb finishing 2nd and Matt finishing 7th. What great results in not just their first pro race, but also their first race in these cars, at this track and in this series! The preparation really paid off for the team.

All of the teams are now busy preparing for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix this weekend—yes, the season is kicking off with back-to-back races! The key to continuing the successful momentum that the team created at COTA last month will include learning another brand-new venue, which will have extremely limited track time because it’s a street circuit venue.

The team will also be able to take the knowledge learned from the first race weekend and stay focused on incremental goals for each session. This process will ultimately produce a greater result in the end. By having small goals for each session, we’ll be ready to put them all together by the time race day arrives. The preparation that began months ago is what has created momentum for the team’s progress, not just to date but also moving forward into the rest of the season.