Hey everyone, its been a while since I last did a blog. Things have been so crazy (in a good way!) this year that this is the first real opportunity I’ve had to sit down and actually know a clear direction for the immediate future. Since I haven’t done a full blog yet this year, I’ll sort of recap everything that has happened and my mindset at certain points as well as today and going forward.
Way back in April I found myself walking around the Long Beach Grand Prix paddock without a ride for another year and I honestly had no clue on what 2015 had in store for me. It had been over a year since I was in a full year program and I was starting to wonder if anything was going to come together for this year at all. For anyone that knew me away from a racetrack, it wasn’t a great time for me.
Miles Maroney (USA) Michelin Racing Team at Audi R8 LMS Cup, Yeongam, South Korea, 15-17 May 2015.
Then, really when I needed it most, I got the first “come drive this car” call I had ever gotten from and old teammate and friend of mine, David Cheng. “This car” was an Audi R8 in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, in KOREA! I’m usually fairly emotionless when it comes to most things, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hugely excited for the opportunity and admittedly, a bit nervous. I had raced in Asia before, at Sepang F1 Circuit, but this was different. This car was a proper R8 LMS Cup car, and I was traveling alone to a country I didn’t speak the slightest hint of the local language in, but I was going to drive a racecar so everything was right in the world. David, if you’re reading this, just want to say thanks again for an incredible opportunity. All the while, I had been communicating with a GRC Lites team, hoping to be in one of their cars for the full year, but at least for the season opener a couple weeks from then in Fort Lauderdale.
At this point if you’re reading this, I’m sure you know things worked out with the Lites team, Dreyer Reinbold Racing, and the tear we’ve been on ever since. That said, I still want to recap it a bit from my point of view and maybe fill in some context gaps the main media may have missed or something.
So it came down to the wire on Fort Lauderdale, to the point of wondering if we were doing it literally a day or two before I was supposed to fly out to the lovely humid state. I had barely stepped foot in a GRC Lites car before, doing a couple laps NASCAR style in an oval around the DRR shop to make sure I actually enjoyed driving the thing (how could I not, it’s a racecar), but there we were ready to tackle one of the biggest jumps of the year and to this point I’d still say one of the most chaotic tracks of the 2015 season. Things didn’t exactly get off to the best start with a bit of contact in that first race and some “rivalries” formed, which is kind of ironic seeing as how at this point I think I’m the only person in the whole paddock that doesn’t seem to have any issue with someone else, but hey! I loved worked with everyone at DRR and I think they recognized the potential we had as a pair beyond our, um, not great… result of 7th in Fort Lauderdale.
Well, they must have, because then we came back to fight again in Daytona and grabbed our first podium of the year while fighting some mechanical issues, and we’ve yet to finish outside the top 4 ever since. Fast forward a bit to recent races and we’ve all but sorted all of the mechanical things that have continued to plague us all year long. We’ve got a year 1 car so it’s fairly beat up compared to the cars that everyone else has, but my guys refuse to quit and we’ve tackled everything thrown at us head on and nobody ever lets the situations get the best of us. To me, it has shown me so much more than if we had a great car working 100% every weekend, and I couldn’t be more proud of every single person involved in the program for not only how hard they all work, but also their attitudes at every point in a weekend no matter what is going on.
We’ve had to fight from behind all year long and somehow we’ve still managed to be fighting at the front of the points championship, picking up our first win along the way and plenty of other podiums as well. I think when the year started, people probably expected me to run top 5, maybe top 3, and I can’t blame them. It was a completely new car and a completely different type of racing with jumps, dirt, almost expected contact, a handbrake, etc. Basically just everything I had ever known, except the opposite. To be in the position we are now, I have to think that we’re exceeding expectations. That said, this is exactly what I had in mind. I knew it would be tough to fight the OMSE boys with their lengthy experience in the cars, but I also knew that it would be possible and if given our shots, we’d be there. Going into Barbados my confidence is higher than ever and I’m beyond thankful that this opportunity I’ve been given continues to allow me to showcase what we’re capable of all the way through the season.
Photo: Larry Chen
They just released the track map yesterday and it’s the longest and fastest track in series history. If similar races this season have been any indicator, I think we’ve got to be one of the favorites going into the weekend. I know there will be a couple guys that will put up a fight and it’s never easy during these weekends, but anything short of double wins this weekend I feel won’t be a proper showing of what we’re capable of next weekend. Don’t confuse this for arrogance, as I think I’m the farthest thing from that, but I believe 100% in the equipment and in my team that we can get this done, and I’ve done everything I possibly could to prepare myself for the weekend and I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been to put a stamp of authority on what we’ve accomplished so far.
This blog has taken many winding turns and jumped around a bit, but if you’ve stuck with me all the way through I appreciate it and I promise the next few will be more frequent and a much more reader friendly length 🙂
I just need to say thank you again to everyone involved in our program, and I’m beyond proud to represent the hard work that has gone into getting our car out on track when everything was stacked against us and bringing home results when nobody thought possible. A big thank you to Wix Filters as well; a brand that I’m proud to represent and continuously put up on the podium.
Photo: Louis Yio
Cheers to more wins and a big one at the end. Until the next blog…
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