This week was my first event back at the racetrack in 2024, and it felt great to be in (not-so-sunny) Florida. I was at Sebring International Raceway to kick off the year, and although the weather was questionable, we had a fantastic couple of days testing with the JDX racing team during Apex’s Winter Pre Grid Driver Development Event.
The format for this event is unique in that it’s not only an incredible amount of track time, but it also incorporates the ability to have qualifying sessions, practice race starts, and races, which all the drivers find very useful. A race control staff runs the safety car, and all the elements you’d expect at an actual race weekend are present at Pre Grid events.
This is an incredibly valuable experience for the drivers, because they get to hone their race craft skills and even qualifying strategies. It’s a great way to stay sharp while waiting for the first race event of the season!
Despite the variable weather conditions—which included changing winds—the overcast skies actually gave us a very steady track temperature. That consistency was great for comparing data throughout each day.
Elias De La Torre, fresh off his 18th birthday, had a fantastic couple of days at Sebring. He optimized his time at the same track where he started his Carrera Cup career last season. It’s been great to see his incredible progress now that we’ve come full circle—right back to the track where we first worked together. Next up for him will be the official Carrera Cup test at Sebring in early March, before the racing kicks off at the 12 Hours of Sebring.