TESTING TESTING ONE, TWO THIRTY THREE

With a month to go before the IMSA Continental Tire Series arrives in CJWR's home town of Austin, Texas, the team and drivers spent a two days at the 3.427 mile track testing both the Cayman GT4 cars and CJ's GT3 Cup Challenge USA 911. 

All five drivers were present for the test, each with different goals to accomplish over the course of several on-track sessions.

For Russell Ward of Seabrook, Texas, getting seat time in the #35 Techemet Cayman GT4, on a track that he considers 'home territory', was the priority. "Fridays test was a huge advantage for us. We will be a step ahead of the competition due to the set-up data we collected. I consider CoTA my home track as well as being one of my absolute favorites, it's always a blast to drive there. As always, the crew and car performed flawlessly, which contributes to my confidence and allowed me to really push the car."

Getting to grips with CoTA's twenty turns was the primary goal for Till Bechtolsheimer . "Most of the day was spent getting miles in on older tires to help me learn the track," explained the Manhattan based Englishman. The high ambient and track temperatures, while uncomfortable, helped to fully prepare the experienced historic racer for what will be only his ninth event in contemporary.  "As the temperature rose to over 90F, doing full fuel to empty stints was also great from a conditioning standpoint"

Till's driver coach and teammate in the #33 Porsche Fresno Cayman, Marc Miller, felt that the conditions were helpful. "Thankfully we had a nice sunny day in Austin with a wide range of track temperatures. Our focus was to get the car well-balanced and consistent throughout a long run as well as get to Till some time in the car at a track he has never raced at before."

CJ Wilson was on double duty as team owner and as driver of the #33 Porsche Fresno 911 GT3 Cup Challenge USA car. "Our team is in a good position after the first two Conti races and I really felt like spending the time at COTA to prepare for our races there in May will put us in a good position versus the field.   Weather in Texas can be extremely demanding on the drivers and the cars themselves, we got a lot of good data to see how those temps affected the surface and our ability to stay on a good race pace," Wilson explained. 

The former MLB All-Star pitcher welcomed the opportunity to get more seat and track time in his 2017 911 GT3 car. "I was glad to get behind the wheel of the Cup car again just to drive a track for the second time was a great exercise to see if I could replicate the rhythm I found the last time I was there.  My next race is fast approaching and the more familiar I get with the adjustments on the car the better off I am going into the next round." 

In between runs in the race car, CJ also found a little but of time to work at his day job as owner of McLaren Scottsdale as he drove the magnificent McLaren 570S between sessions. 

Rounds 3 and 4 of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama take place at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 22nd and 23rd. Round 3 of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge takes place at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas on Friday, May 5th at 3:45 pm EDT. 

Declan Brennan