In Japan, Mt. Fuji is regarded as a holy
place. Samurai warriors used to train at
its base. It’s a beautiful mountain that
inspired artists and poets.
I’ve heard it said that a wise person will
climb Fuji once in their lifetime, but only a
fool would climb it twice. I may be a fool,
because after climbing to the top step of
the podium at Fuji, I sure hope to climb to
the top of the podium again.
It’s been a long journey to get to this –
a race winner in the FIA World Endurance
Championship’s GTE-Am class – with so
many ups and downs along the way.
One huge benefit for me has been the
support of Porsche, and this support is
from the top executives to all of the
members of the Dempsey-Proton Racing
team. My relationship with Porsche feels
so much like family. It’s provided me with
the tools I need to be successful, and I’m
so happy that the faith shown in me has
now been rewarded with a victory.
This season has been focused on
process. We’ve been putting one foot in
front of the other. This may sound strange,
but the focus has not been on the outcome;
it’s been on constant improvement. If we
all do our job the best we can, the results
will come. When we find an area that
needs improvement, we improve it.
The race prior to Fuji, at Circuit of The
Americas in Austin, was a great example of
this. It was our first pole position. In WEC
qualifying, starting position is based upon
the average time of two drivers. So it’s a
team result, the average of Pat Long’s
time and mine. When we got pole, it felt
so good because it was the two of us who
did it. It showed that my driving had
reached a new level of competitiveness.
Unfortunately, my second stint of the
COTA race, at night, showed that I still had
work to do. We’d led for the first four-plus
hours of the six-hour event, but during my
second stint my pace just wasn’t there.
Part of it was some problems I had with
night vision; part of it was that my lack of
training meant I got tired. Anyway, the
result was the same: another fourth-place
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN
A RACING JOURNEY
LMGTE-AM CLASS WINNER,
2015 WEC 6 HOURS OF FUJI
finish, and the feeling I’d let the entire
Porsche team down.
This is where the focus on process really
kicked in. I wasn’t going to have that feeling
again. I started training harder, pushing my
fitness to a level where I could drive hard for
longer. I also fought through my issues with
nausea when driving simulators, and
worked on learning the Fuji race track the
week I was home in Los Angeles.
The weather during the Fuji race
weekend looked like it could be a factor.
Practice and qualifying were in the dry,
and Pat, Marco Seefried and I just worked