Petit Le Mans - Part 1/2
By Zacharie Robichon
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t starting to have doubts on whether or not I’d ever get the chance to go racing again. Although you know the plan is to continue on, and you know that this is a temporary setback in the grand scheme of things, there is something about motorsports that is so unforgiving. Even in the best of times it seems next to impossible to get a shot at a professional level, just when you think you have everything together there is always a risk that you might have just competed in your last race. So, you might forgive me for starting to have doubt about it all when we were unsure on our plans for the rest of 2020!
Luckily, it wasn’t that time just yet for me. After a spring and summer on the sidelines, we were back competing at Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans. Pfaff motorsports chose this race to make our return (and make sure our competitors were reminded what were capable of) because of our team’s title sponsor, Motul. Lots of credit needs to be given to them as they stuck with us when our travel was limited, and even supported our program with Zachary Vanier in CTCC. The Petit Le Mans weekend was a big deal for them as they are the title sponsor, and obviously we wanted to give them a good show at their big event!
It was difficult to try and just go on with business as usual when we arrived in Atlanta. Mostly because I was so excited to be there! Of course, it wasn’t quite business as usual as IMSA has done a good job at creating a “bubble” environment for the teams. This means that upon entry everyone has to fill a daily questionnaire and gets temperature checked. Once on site all team members limit their contact to their own team as much as possible and must wear a mask at all times. Despite these differences, and I must say wearing a mask has become so normal now it really did feel like we were back to where we were.
I did my best to keep my expectations reasonable. Most, if not all of our competitors have been racing regularly since July. In an even more intense schedule then normal as IMSA has attempted to reschedule all the spring races since July everyone has been racing consistently. Also, they had competed at Road Atlanta just 1 month ago for the rescheduled Watkins Glen 6 Hour race that was moved to Road Atlanta! All this was working against us, our first on track event as a team since January, but we were committed to working on our own schedule and follow our game plan.
If I’m being honest, my competitive mentality was back in full effect within about 3 minutes of being in the car. I had gotten the chance to do a shakedown test at CTMP the week prior so I felt relatively good in the car from the get go. The other thing is that Road Atlanta is one of, if not my favourite track so I was just excited to be on track.
Seeing the other cars out there, I was immediately back to my same mentality and luckily got back to where I needed to be quickly. My teammates for the event, Lars Kern and Dennis Olsen, have been racing regularly in Europe this summer so it was great to be working with them again and they could make sure I had not forgotten anything about driving in my time away.
Overall, it was back to business as usual within minutes of being on track, our goal went from getting back in the groove to looking for the those last few tenths and fighting for the podium immediately. Check back next month to see how we fared in our first race back in over 9 months.Lenssen Photo