This past weekend was a busy one with IMSA in town at Virginia International Raceway. It was also a weekend that came with its share of challenges for the teams I was coaching.
We had a variety of weather conditions, opening the event with heavy rain and a drying track followed by sunny, hot weather on race day. With the variable weather conditions at the start of the event, dry track time was very limited, which meant teams had to prioritize their goals. Of course, balancing track time for co-drivers was a challenge, as well, since both needed to get enough seat time. This was true for every series that I was coaching in.
Not only did the practice sessions not go according to plan, but neither did qualifying. LMP3 qualifying was cancelled due to the conditions, and the incident-shortened Lamborghini Super Trofeo qualifying sessions ran on a tricky wet-but-drying track.
Unfortunately, one of those incidents happened to Ashton Harrison, one of the drivers I was coaching. It meant her car had to sit out that afternoon’s race, but luckily they were back out for the race on the next day. They wound up finishing third, which was a nice way to cap off an up-and-down weekend.
The highlight of the weekend was the LMP3 race, which came down to fuel mileage and strategy, not to mention some fantastic driving at the end. There was a four-car battle for second place with just a couple of laps remaining, and Stevan McAleer did a phenomenal job of saving enough fuel and defending his position while also gaining a spot to give the team a second-place result.
When these kinds of weekends happen, where nothing seems to go according to plan in practice and qualifying, it’s really important to get your mindset right moving forward. You should always learn from previous experiences while maintaining a positive, open outlook for what’s next, whether it’s the race or the next event. It’s also important to always be ready to adapt to the next set of challenges, whatever they might be. These teams have just a couple of short weeks before heading to Road Atlanta, which is the substitute venue for Watkins Glen. I know they’ll meet the challenges there just as well as they did at VIR!