Laguna Seca: Rob Bunker preview

Rob Bunker returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., this week, ready for both the new and familiar The Bridgewater, N.J., driver will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 AIM Autosport Pro Formula Mazda in the final race of the...

Rob Bunker returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., this week, ready for both the new and familiar

The Bridgewater, N.J., driver will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 AIM Autosport Pro Formula Mazda in the final race of the 2006 Star Mazda Championship on Sept. 21. The 2.238-mile road course has been repaved and some areas have changed since his last visit, but he is confident he'll adapt quickly with the help of his Speed Secrets coach, Bob Perona.

"It will make a level playing ground for everybody because things like reference points have changed, so everybody's got to start from scratch. When it comes down to doing that, we've performed very well all year," Bunker noted. "We're willing to go that extra mile to perform the best we can. We do what other drivers do in less time. Some drivers spend a whole session on one corner; we don't get stuck on just one."

To prepare for the 45-minute race, he has taken advantage of resources from print to video.

"I've been reviewing track notes here and there," he said. "I've even tried going back to PlayStation to get a few laps in on Gran Turismo. It's the closest thing I have right now to what the track will be like. It's not good for little details like reference points, but as far as the general direction of the track is concerned, it keeps you pretty fresh."

Although he'll drive a more powerful car than last year, he knows some things don't change: "Whatever corners were important, still are. The Corkscrew is going to be the Corkscrew no matter what car you're in. Keeping up momentum is a big thing in these cars. If we maintain the direction we've been going all year, we should have a pretty good performance and definitely round off the season well."

-credit: sp

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Series Pro Mazda