16.05.2005 VICI RACING announces that promising young racing driver Nathan Swartzbaugh will be joining theIR IMSA GT3 Cup racing programme at Mid-Ohio this coming weekend VICI RACING today announces that promising young racing driver ...
16.05.2005 VICI RACING announces that promising young racing driver Nathan Swartzbaugh will be joining theIR IMSA GT3 Cup racing programme at Mid-Ohio this coming weekend
VICI RACING today announces that promising young racing driver Nathan Swartzbaugh will be joining their IMSA GT3 Cup racing programme at Mid-Ohio this coming weekend.
19-year-old Nathan Swartzbaugh is regarded as one of tomorrows rising track stars, and competing in this year's inaugural IMSA GT3 Challenge Cup has been a logical, although big step forward for the resident of La Habra Heights, California.
VICI RACING will now expand their operation for round two of the series at Mid Ohio this weekend to three cars, with Nathan, who will be driving the no17 Porsche GT3 Cup car, joining the team along with highly experienced Porsche racer, Steve Valetinetti. VICI RACING will be building on a 'dream' debut' in the IMSA GT3 Challenge Cup at Road Atlanta last month when Alfred Renauer in the no11 XM SATELLITE RADIO supported Porsche GT3 Cup won the 26- lap race, after having dominated qualifying and both free practice sessions.
Nathan Swartzbaugh, a speciality machine sales executive, has been track racing for seven years now, taking part in wide variety of club races, under the auspices of NASA and SCCA. Most of this period has seen the youngster racing Spec-Trucks, a championship which encourages low-cost, close-racing thrills, where talent can rise above budget and invaluable experienced can be gained. After winning 'Rookie of the Year' in his first season at the age of 14, he went on to win the title twice. At just 16- years-old Nathan also acted as Crew Chief for one of the Spec-Truck teams as he sought to broaden his experience and gain a greater understanding of all aspects of motor racing.
Thus for 2005 Nathan took the decision to move up to the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. "The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is the first real chance I have had to judge myself against highly-rated, professional drivers," says Nathan. "Now I am racing up against guys who put huge dollars and huge efforts into winning. I am also extremely pleased to have the chance to race against drivers like Alfred Renauer and Brent Martini, because they are guys that I can learn so much from. Joining VICI RACING, with their vast experience, particularly in racing Porsches, puts me in an ideal position to really push my career forward, and I am looking forward to absorbing their advice at Mid-Ohio"
"Dad asked me at the end of last year, when I told him I was targeting competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup as my next step, as to how serious I was about making a career in motor racing. He reminded me of my job, my girlfriend, and my social life before asking me if I was willing to give all this up for racing. I asked him where I sign, I'm committed, and excited for this year," concluded Nathan.
During the opening round of the IMSA GT3 Cup at Road Atlanta last month Nathan ran under the banner of Hergesheimer Motorsports. Quickly adapting to a new car, a new track and a whole new challenge he set 15th and 10th fastest times in the two free practice sessions, before qualifying 11th on the grid (3.185 seconds behind pole winner Alfred Renauer). A highly impressive race performance saw him passing several much more experienced competitors to complete the 26-lap encounter in 46m17.687s, and finish in an excellent 6th place, 15.784 seconds at the chequered flag behind the winning no11 VICI RACING entry.
This result leaves him ideally positioned in the IMSA GT3 Challenge Cup with 10 points racked up after just one race. "It was some baptism," recounts Nathan, "we were straight in at the deep end, learning to set-up the car for qualifying and then the race. But I was pleased with the performance, and confident that there is a whole lot more to come from both me and the car."
"Nathan is one of the prospective names of the future, of that I'm quite sure," comments VICI RACING Marketing Manager Bill Colleran. "He obviously has the talent, we saw that first hand at Road Atlanta, and he also importantly has the drive and determination to succeed, as well as the hunger to learn. He's put a lot on the line to get into the Cup this year and we are delighted to have him now join us. I firmly expect him to cause a surprise of two along the way this year."
Nathan Swartzbaugh, at the wheel of the no17 Porsche GT3 Cup entry, will be supported by North-South Machinery, and additionally, by XM SATELLITE RADIO this weekend.
The second round of the 2005 IMSA GT3 Challenge Cup takes place at Mid-Ohio this weekend. First practice takes place on Friday 20th May from 1055 to 1125, with a second session following from 1635 to 1705. Qualifying is on Saturday 21st May, 1055-1125, while the 45 minute duration race is scheduled to start on Sunday 22nd May at 1515, following the completion of the 2 hour 45 minute third round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS).