What a fun time I had racing in the WRL Series at Circuit of the Americas! Last weekend I competed in their endurance event with friends and coaching clients. The series was very organized and combined a professional approach with a club racing atmosphere.
Although I was there coaching a team, I had the pleasure of also being a co-driver in the race. I thoroughly enjoyed not just getting to drive a fun car at a challenging track but also the team camaraderie. Having 90-plus cars on track made it even more fun! One of my favorite aspects of endurance racing is traffic management, and it’s something that I feel is one of my driving strengths. Traffic management can really make or break your pace as a team over the course of a long race.
The event format allowed us to have a full practice day, with plenty of quality seat time for everyone. We got the car dialed in and had the opportunity to refine each driver’s pace and overall comfort with both the car and track. This gave everyone confidence going into the two eight-hour races, with one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Our team’s entry was in the largest and the fastest of the four classes. That created all kinds of fun challenges with race strategy as well as traffic management, passing cars in our class while also lapping slower traffic.
The endurance format really gave the drivers opportunities to work on aspects like traffic management, saving fuel and optimizing their average lap time that will give them an advantage in their own sprint races next season.
As the race progressed, all of the drivers got more comfortable and it was exciting to see the team starting to gel both on track and during pit stops. Last week I mentioned how pit stops can make or break an endurance effort, and at every stop the team was more refined and got faster. By the end, it was simply fun to watch as the crew performed like clockwork!
Throughout the weekend, not only did the drivers overcome all of the race’s challenges, but they also learned the art of saving fuel to optimize strategy and minimize pit stop time. There are so many facets to endurance racing that are unique and challenging, which makes it really fun. Getting a strong result both days made this weekend of racing even more satisfying!