The Hankook 24H COTA USA has not been a happy hunting ground for the newly crowned GT4 America SprintX West Pro-Am champion. Heading into the 24H SERIES season finale though, Jon Miller reunites with Daren Jorgensen’s eponymous outfit with GT4-class victory on his mind.
Jon, you’re back in the BMW M4 GT4 at COTA with Daren Jorgensen and Brett Strom. You’ve already competed with the pair at Spa so perhaps you could tell us what the team environment is like, both at the track and away from it…
“Daren, Brett and I finished 2nd in the GT4 class at the [Hankook] 12H SPA race last year. We've driven together in other endurance races since then, also finishing 2nd in the GT4 class of the California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca and winning the 6 Hour NASA WERC enduro* in the GT4 BMW. As the team leader, Daren has high ambitions, and together, Daren and Brett have brought together a talented group of individuals who all bring something to the table. It's great to be a part of this team and as much as we take our competition seriously, we have a great camaraderie off-track.”
*NASA WERC, or (deep breath) the National Auto Sport Association Western Endurance Racing Championship.
It’s a strong entry list for this year’s event, particularly in the GT division. Which teams and or cars do you feel will be the most difficult to beat, and why?
“In the GT4 class, I feel like we're the team to beat. We have an experienced crew who are fantastic on the pit stops and with engineering and strategy. Our driver lineup has all had success at COTA, both together and independently. The pieces are all there, so our goal is to win.
“In an interesting turn of events, the other BMW team that I drive for in the SRO GT4 America series – ST Racing – has also entered a car. That means I'll be racing against my season-long crew, my co-driver Harry Gottsacker and my teammates Samantha Tan and Jason Wolfe. There will be a little friendly rivalry going on, so I'm looking forward to that!”
How much are you hoping for a successful event at COTA, given that the LightSpeed’s race came to an unfortunate early end last year?
“Last year was a heart breaker, for sure. It was an honor to be a part of the LightSpeed Racing SCG003 Glickenhaus team, and I was just putting my helmet on for my first race stint when the car suffered a terminal gearbox failure. We had high hopes for an overall result, but it wasn't meant to be. The LightSpeed garage was adjacent to my RHC Jorgensen/Strom friends, so I moved over to support them once we retired.”
You mentioned above that you feel RHC Jorgensen/Strom is the team to beat. We’re guessing a 24H SERIES podium, at least, is the goal?
“Podiums are nice, and at Spa last year, we ended up 2nd by about 30 seconds. In those situations you can't help but analyze where those 30 seconds could have been lost, and hopefully learn from it. But it's much better when someone asks ‘How did the race go?’ and you get to say ‘We won’!”