16 year old JT Coupal’s racing world has turned completely upside down the past six months. After a last minute call to drive a TCR-spec SEAT in Dubai, and an even more last minute call to drive an LMP3 machine while in Dubai, to then putting together an Audi RS3 LMS program with BERG Racing for the 2017 Touring Car season, it’s been a whirlwind 180 days. We caught up with the PWC rookie to get his thoughts on the TC class, TCR and more.
The World Challenge Touring Car class has 55 cars entered, what are your thoughts on coming over here and the series in general?
JT: It’s the most competitive class I’ve been in and I was in spec miata where we had 50 identical cars, but this class is way more competitive. On Saturday I had to fight all the way up through the field and hitting the top ten was really hard to do. Every foot on track was fought over and it was extremely fun. I anticipate really good races going forward.
This is your first weekend in the WC TCR spec car, what are you thoughts of the AUDI RS3 LMS overall?
JT: The Audi is easily the best car I’ve ever driven, it’s really friendly to the driver while being intimidating to everyone else. Seems like our competitors are a little scared of it, but it’s really friendly to me and I really enjoy driving it.
You’ve also driven LMP3 machinery, can you bring anything over from the prototype and bring it over to this type of touring car?
JT: The amount the downforce the prototype has, you have to get used to. There’s a huge wing and huge front splitter and the amount of downforce there is really something. There’s some learning there but the TCR car produces some pretty good downforce as well. There’s also a big wing and a lot of downforce from the floor, so the LMP3 car has really helped me here with the TCR spec.
Is there a specific track you are looking forward to racing at?
JT: Laguna Seca. I’ve been there once before, but I’ve never raced there. I used to race the track in video games all the time and I’ve always wanted to get there to actually race a car. I’m really looking forward to getting there in October.
How’s working with BERG Racing, John [Weisberg] and the team?
JT: BERG Racing is a fantastic team. Yesterday we had some contact in qualifying, but they got the car ready to go in time for a really good race. Everything that has had to be done, it’s been done perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.
JT finished his debut PWC weekend with impressive 8th and 10th place finishes at Virginia International Raceway and looks to continue to push through the grid. While his rookie PWC season has just begun, JT looks forward to moving up to full TCR-spec in 2018 and we look forward to watching this young gun’s career really start to blossom. Names like Aschenbach, Cooper and Holton have started their careers in the PWC Touring Car ranks and we can expect similar progression from the young New Yorker.