Making the switch to the American Le Mans Series for this year was not something that even I saw coming going into last Christmas. I was still quietly waiting for news about making the progression into a full-time IndyCar ride. I’m a big believer in fate and trusting in God’s plan so I had hope that something had to fall in place for this year. There was a lot of positive energy and momentum from the end of last year so things were looking good.
January had come and gone, and I was sitting at home anxiously waiting for news as our hopes of landing a full-time ride were fading. I received two separate unrelated phone calls – one from Eric Bachelart from Conquest and later that night one from Patrick Long (Official Porsche Driver) who is an old friend of mine. It’s funny how you work your tail off for nearly 2 hard years for one goal, then a different but equally exciting opportunity slaps you in the face out of no where…
Eric called me to ask if I would be interested in joining his team for his foray into endurance racing. That same evening I received a call from Patrick who told me that he was helping a friend of his who wanted to make the step up to LMP2, and about a great new opportunity in ALMS with a new team they were in talks with. He asked if I would consider switching to endurance racing and teaming with his friend. As it turned out they were in talks with Conquest Endurance. After that phone call with Patrick my mind was pretty much made up about what I wanted to do. Patrick is someone I respect and whose opinion I really value. It was his advice and guidance that convinced me that this was the right move for my career.
A few days later I sat down with Eric at the local Starbucks and he talked about his vision for the future and where he wanted to go with his team. That was on a Tuesday, there was an ALMS open test on that Thursday, so I went straight home and booked a flight down to Sebring for the following day! I spent all day Thursday in Sebring with Eric just to get a feel for the paddock and to help me make this decision easier. It wasn’t a decision I wanted to take lightly, as potentially it could change the path of the rest of my racing career. I’m still young and clearly racing at and winning the Indy 500 is still a big ambition of mine. But when an opportunity arises to compete in one of the top racing series with an exciting new team, it’s an opportunity that I simply can’t turn down.
I know I have lot to learn in the short amount of time before the flag drops in Sebring, but I think I showed last year in my IndyCar debut that I’m always up for a challenge and that I’m capable of adapting well to a new situation under pressure. Working with another driver in the same car will be a new challenge too, as sometimes I know we will have to compromise on setup in order to get the best out of both of us.
All in all I can’t wait to get started with my new team and new co-driver David Heinemeier-Hansson. He has shown great potential in his short racing career so I’m looking forward to seeing him fulfil that potential this year.
It’s time to go racing!…