Braselton, Ga.- (April 24, 2013)-- Performance Tech's Ryan Booth took three years off from racing to pursue different passions, but much like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, he's back and ready to race in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series in 2013.
The young driver's three-year hiatus came after a move from Florida to West Virginia where he developed a knack for rock climbing, snow boarding, skating and mountain biking.
"I just love skating, snow boarding, racing and all that. I love anything that will get my adrenaline pumping," Booth said. "I love the attitude of extreme sports because it can be so laid back and just chill."
The South Florida native chose to attend the University of Colorado, where areas to snow board and rock climb are abundant. During his tenure there, Booth says he matured and gained a new respect and passion for racing while hitting the books instead.
"I was sitting there, hating every second of being in class," Booth said. "Then I was just like, why am I here? I should be out driving. I just felt like a number at school. I see the importance of education but for me racing is what I need to be doing."
But his return to racing was triggered by a frightening moment while exploring one of his other favorite pursuits.
"I was rock climbing with a friend, I was about 55 feet up when I fell to about five feet off the ground. It scared me, and I had to take time off because I would shake so bad when I climbed," explained Booth. "But in racing I don't think about fear. It doesn't scare me. Racing is too much fun not to do."
The 20-year-old moved to South Carolina in the summer of 2012 to live with his family and revive his racing career. With hard work and a little luck, Booth earned a ride with Performance Tech in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series.
"Sometimes I just wish I hadn't taken those three years off," Booth said. "It set me back a lot on the goals I have now. When I do something I try to be the best and I max out my effort. I wish I had put more pressure on myself then."
Booth's time away from the sport helped him realize his attraction to racing was undeniable. He wants to share his carefree, spirited personality with fans, and he has found a comfortable atmosphere in his team Performance Tech that allows him to do just that. His bond with the crew grows each day, both on and off the track.
"Outside of the driving we have a lot of down time to spend together. The crew is awesome; they help me out so much. Tristan (Nunez) and I have really gotten close, and Brent O'Neill, the team manager, is so relaxed and cool. I feel at home with them," Booth said.
The driver of the No. 18 Performance Tech Élan DP 02 prototype attributes his success on the track to the chemistry he has found with his team. As the 2013 season heats up he'll rely on that bond to bid for the Lites 1 Class Championship.
Ryan Booth returns to action with Performance Tech at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 9-11 in Monterey, Calif. for the 2013 American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patrón.
Due to an recent agreement, the fans will be able to tune into the race broadcasts on Motorsport.com