(featured image: TCR)
A huge thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer our questions and talk to us about TCR. We wish him and all at West Coast Racing the best of luck for the remainder of the season.
Matt: TCR is a new form of touring car racing, what is it about this format that attracted you to it?
KG: There were a number of things that attracted me to the TCR series. From a driving stand point, being a single driver, double race weekend format was important for me to develop as a driver. Racing on an international level against proven teams and drivers is a great opportunity and if you can succeed I think it will help build a drivers reputation. Beyond this I believe the vision of Marcello Lotti to create a world wide touring car platform modeled after GT3 is the way to go. As the regional series grow over the next few years, the International series will grow and touring car racing will be prospering all over the globe.
Matt: Nicola Larini tested the cars for the series BoP at Barcelona and really liked the cars, even comparing them to GT3 machines. After your first race weekend, and having driving GT3 in the past, how do the TCR cars drive?
KG: I think Nicola was referring to how well the cars are built and drive like a proper racing car. The car has a nice amount of grip and a really solid platform to work off of. I am really enjoying driving a well built touring car, it is responsive to changes from an engineering stand point which is helping me learn a lot. Compared to GT3 we don’t have abs or traction control so it puts more emphasis on the driver for sure.
Matt: Do you feel the cars are pretty well balanced or is there still a ways to go?
KG: I think the series has done a good job in such a short amount of time. I still think there is a little balancing to be done between the Honda’s and the Seat’s so we will see how that plays out. New cars will be introduced throughout the season as well so the series has a tough job ahead! It’s not an easy job because you are getting an earful from every direction but I think they are working hard to get it right as they made adjustments throughout the weekend in Sepang.
Matt: You made history and took the first ever TCR pole position. How does the car suit your driving style and was it pretty easy to adapt ?
KG: My fwd experience with APR Motorsport in the continental series definitely helped prepare myself for fwd touring car racing. The biggest challenge for me was switching to left foot braking with no abs. I haven’t driven without ABS since Spec Miata in 2010 and haven’t left foot braked since 2010 in the TDI Cup so that took a few laps for me to get sorted but I quickly got comfortable after that. The car is a pleasure to drive and I think it suites my style. We have a lot of work to do to dial in the set up as its such a new car, but so far so good.
Matt: You are teammates with touring car legend Gianni Morbidelli, what have you learned from him?
KG: A massive amount of experience coming from Gianni with major touring car experience and not to mention 70 F1 Grand Prix’s I believe. I will certainly be looking to learn as much as possible from him throughout the season. Maybe I can even improve on my Italian by seasons end!
Matt: TCR is looking to start many national race series inlcuding TCR-USA. What will it take for TCR to be successful in the United States?
KG: I think it will take some time. The cars need to be available and people need to learn about this new platform. Being able to buy and run the car at a cost effective rate should be really attractive. With TCR you don’t have to worry about building your own car and all the time and money involved in that. You can just focus on car set up and go racing in a proper touring car. I can see this concept catching on and seeing 30 car grids going door to door for the entire length of the race.
Matt: Being the only American driver on the grid, have you been involved with any discussions about getting the series here in 2016?
KG: Everything is still so new for everyone so I haven’t been involved in any discussions. After the first two events are finished in Asia and the dust settles a bit I really hope that I can get involved in some way to help build the regional series here in the USA. I already see huge potential.
Matt: The series travels to Shanghai next, what are your and West Coast Racing’s expectations for the weekend?
KG: Beyond results we are looking to improve our understanding of the car and set up. Just take it one session at a time, learn, improve and then hopefully the results will come.