Robert Stout: "This track is a handful in any car not to mention a rocket ship like the DeltaWing."
Gilbert, AZ - Two-time National Sports Car Champion Robert Stout completed a successful test session recently behind the wheel of the extremely fast and exotic DeltaWing “P” class car. It was Stout’s first time behind the wheel of the car as well as his first trip to Road Atlanta, a track he has always wanted to run at.
“If you’re a road racer Road Atlanta is on the bucket list," said 2010 Pirelli World Challenge TC Champion Robert Stout. “Let me start off by thanking Tim Keene (DeltaWing Team Manager) and Mr. Panoz for this incredible opportunity! These chances are very rare and it is greatly appreciated. It’s great to know there are still team owners and managers who just want talent behind the wheel so they can win. Without them drivers like me have no chance at the big leagues. This track is a handful in any car not to mention a rocket ship like the DeltaWing. I knew it was going to be a tough but fun day going in but my desire to climb the ranks of professional racing is extremely strong and when good friend Tim Keene offered the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the car I took it.”
Stout would use all the experience he has gained over his nine-year career behind the wheel of many race cars to get the DeltaWing up to speed. Current DeltaWing drivers Katherine Legge and Gabby Chaves were instrumental during the sessions as the team was also preparing for the Six Hours of the Glen event.
Katherine and Gabby are extremely talented drivers so to run within two seconds of them is a solid accomplishment...
“The team put a lot of faith in me to learn this car and this track knowing they were racing it in one week at Watkins Glen," added Stout. “The pressure was significant! Katherine and Gabby were both very helpful and Tim was a good voice to hear while I was out on the track. It tested everything I have ever learned, driving four and five hundred horse power cars every day that weigh over three thousand pounds requires a completely different style of driving compared to the 350 HP 1,000lb DeltaWing. It took a while to slow my hands down and just let the car roll through the turns while learning the best way around the challenging Road Atlanta track.”
Legge started the day out with laps that fell in the 1:17 zone around the 2.54 mile 12-turn track. Stout was next in the morning session as he worked his way down to mid 1:21’s. Chaves followed the duo as the third driver and put a 1:16 on the board as the team was trying some new set-ups on the car. During the lunch break the drivers sat through a debriefing where a lot was learned by Stout.
“The data was so helpful and then I was able to bounce it off of both Katherine and Gabby making it even better. The team was an absolute pleasure to work with and all were very helpful,” said Stout.
The trio of talented drivers picked up the pace in the heat of the Georgia sun as Legge put a mid 1:16 on the board then Chaves raised the bar with a 1:15.86. Stout was next and clearly had learned a better way around after the debriefing. With speeds approaching 180 MPH down the back straightaway Stout brought his lap times down into the 1:18’s and eventually recorded a 1:17 by the end of the session.
“As a competitive race car driver you always strive to be the fastest, but I have to be realistic about the test,” said Stout. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and the last thing I wanted to do is hurt this car. I’m happy with my improvement given a new and very different car that is extremely fast and all on a very demanding Road Atlanta track for the first time. Katherine and Gabby are extremely talented drivers so to run within two seconds of them is a solid accomplishment taking everything into consideration. But trust me, I want to win and hopefully I’ll be much closer at the next test!"
The DeltaWing team was also pleased with Stout’s results and have invited him to a future test date to be announced. “Robert did an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances ," said Keene, “Given the fact he had never been to Road Atlanta and is one of only a few people to ever have the opportunity to drive the DeltaWing, it was a lot to ask of him as this car takes a different approach to driving than any other car I know of. I'm looking forward to the possibilities of working together with Robert at another test date in the future.”
“I have to thank my career-long sponsor Lucas Oil,” said Stout. “They have been with me since I was 13-years-old and without their support I’d never have been able to develop my skills to compete in a car at this level. I will forever be grateful to Forrest Lucas and the Patison family, I always look forward to flying the Lucas Oil colors whenever I get the opportunity. Hopefully I can do so on many levels in the future. To drive a car like this has always been a dream and now it’s a reality! I am so thankful for the opportunity and hopefully more will come soon."
Robert Stout is a proud factory Scion supported team driver and currently competes in the Pirelli World Challenge series. When he’s not behind the wheel of the GTS class Scion FR-S he is a full-time instructor at the prestigious Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, AZ.
Robert Stout Racing