Daytona Recap

Hi everyone!  I finally was able to get back behind the wheel of a race car! But this time, in a very unfamiliar circumstance. Just about every aspect of this past weekend has been a foreign experience for me. A new car, team, track, and series gave me the opportunity to develop as a driver and get great experience in a completely new style of racing. 

This past weekend I was at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. I got the chance to race in the IMSA VP Sportscar Challenge in a Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport for Czabok-Simpson Motorsports! The VP Sportscar Challenge is a multi-class series which hosts the GSX class which I competed in, and the LMP3 class. GSX consists of GT4 cars from multiple manufacturers like Porsche, and the LMP3 class consists of quicker Prototype cars that are around 10 seconds a lap faster. GSX alone had 22 drivers including some very experienced and talented pro drivers who have won races like the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. This series will give me a great opportunity to learn sportscar racing and help me build a name for myself to open up future opportunities. 

My first time ever in the car was Friday– and the car had never been on track either. The team and I got 2 short practice sessions to get up to speed and then went into qualifying which would decide our starting spot for both races. Race 1 was based on your fastest qualifying lap and race 2 on your second fastest qualifying lap or fastest race 1 lap. I’m proud of the progress we were able to make in our first couple of days in the car. We were able to qualify P4 in race 1 and P6 in race 2. 

Until the first race, we had no experience on long runs in the car. Our longest run we had been able to do during practice had been around 8 to 10 laps, and the race was a 45-minute race which could require as many as 23 laps. We knew as the tires wore, the car would lose grip and become more difficult to drive. But we weren’t sure how much the car would change, and I had no experience trying to manage this. So race 1 was going to be a chance for me to try and figure this out. At the drop of the green flag, we had pretty strong pace. I was running P5 and was able to hang on to the group that had broken away from the rest of the field. We ran around P6 until a late yellow bunched the field up. We would have a couple laps to try and improve position. After we went back to racing, I made a couple attempts to improve position but ultimately couldn’t improve. Along with that, on the final lap. I got caught out by an LMP3 car who passed me in an awkward position which allowed another car to follow through, ultimately ending my race in P7.

#66: Czabok-Simpson Motorsport, Porsche 718 GT4 RS CS, GSX: Jackson Lee

We went into race 2 with more knowledge of how these races progress and how the car progresses. Starting in P6, I was able to quickly make my way up to P4 where I would spend the first half of the race. After a while I would end up fighting for the 4th, 5th and 6th spots with three very talented and experienced drivers through to the late part of the race. Another late race yellow set us up for a one lap shootout where I would restart in P6. After the restart, I had set up for a good run out of the final corner to the line for a final overtake but just missed out on the top 5 by .07 and a few feet. We were very happy with my IMSA Sportscar debut. We learned a lot and showed that we can compete with very fast drivers. We will continue to develop and will be even stronger the next time on track. 

If you were not able to watch the racing live on Peacock, no problem. It’s archived there or you can find them via a YouTube search. And, you’ll have another chance to watch race #2 on Saturday, February 3 at 2PM EST when it re-airs on CNBC.

Next up is the Streets of St. Petersburg. I have a lot of experience at St. Pete and I am looking forward to using that to my advantage. We plan on being back in the Czabok-Simpson Motorsports #66 in early March during IndyCar weekend at St. Pete to keep our momentum rolling.

Thank you to all of you for your support.

Stay Fast, 

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