MID-SEASON REVIEW FROM ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR LEADER: TIMO GLOCK I am happy right now to be driving in the Champ Car World Series. The series is very competitive and has some of the best drivers in the world. The race events are hard, in the sense...
MID-SEASON REVIEW FROM ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR LEADER: TIMO GLOCK
I am happy right now to be driving in the Champ Car World Series. The series is very competitive and has some of the best drivers in the world. The race events are hard, in the sense that you have to be on the edge and give over 100% every time you roll out of the pit lane.
I think that Champ Car has found a great mix between road, street, and oval courses. The cities, like Long Beach, Toronto, Cleveland, Montreal, and Australia, are great places to go racing and have very enthusiastic fans. They are well organized events that turn into a great success, and that is the main requirement for a good show.
I am not 100% satisfied with how the season is going so far for me because after the pre-season testing I was sure that we had a chance to be in the top five every race weekend. I have learned though, that testing and racing are two entirely different things.
My first event with Rocketsports was in Long Beach. I started and finished sixth, being the top rookie of the weekend. That was a great feeling, I felt comfortable with the way things went and really looked forward to seeing an even better result in the next race.
Then things went in the wrong direction for us starting with the Milwaukee test in May. It was the first time that I was running on an oval, so I was trying to get a good feel for it. Pushing hard, like I always try to do - especially in my learning stages, I backed the #8 DHL Global Mail Lola into the wall hard. Obviously, I damaged my car, while hurting myself pretty good. With bruises and a lot of pain, not to mention the broken collar bone, I scared myself a bit and wondered how long it would take to heal from this knowing the second race of the season was less than two weeks away.
I headed to the second race in Mexico with uncertainty. I was determined to get back in the car and drive, but I was uneasy on how my shoulder would feel while doing so. My first practice session eased my tension, as the shoulder was feeling fine. My crew did a great job adding padding to the car so I was comfortable. We almost got through the weekend with no problems, until I was involved in an incident with only seven laps to go.
My shoulder was feeling ok; I got through the weekend, so that was a relief. Just as I finished healing, it was time to return to the scene of the crash, this time for the race. A bit nervous, as a result of the crash during testing and being my first oval race, I went out there and did my best. It was unfortunate that my teammate Ryan (Hunter-Reay), who also crashed during the May test, repeated his fortune of hitting the wall. He took a pretty hard hit, and I know that does not feel good, which left me feeling a bit alarmed at the start of the race. My concentration during the race was to finish and bring the car home in one piece, and get the heck out of there! We managed to do exactly that, as I earned my second top ten finish of the year.
Portland was an absolute nightmare for us. The weather was constantly changing and we just couldn't find the right set up on either car, so we were struggling all weekend. The only positive out of the weekend was I obtained another top-ten result, making that three out of four races. Consistency is one of the keys to success in racing, so at least we had that going for us.
I was looking forward to Cleveland, as I had never driven on an airport course. The only airport driving I had done previous to the event was drag racing in my Champ Car down a runway at the Lemoore Navel Air Station in California for an article to be covered by Road & Track magazine that compared different "fast" cars. The course met my expectations, the result did not as much, but it was another top ten.
Toronto, our team had some luck. In a crazy race, both Ryan and I managed to stay clean until the end and we wound up sixth and seventh. It was a good finish for the team, but we still were off pace from the leaders, so I was not completed satisfied.
Then we were off to a new venue in Edmonton, Canada. I was looking forward to this event, as all teams were on the same playing level as me in terms of learning the course and finding a way to be quick. I had my incidents with Justin Wilson, as he took me out twice during the course of the race weekend. The first melee happened in qualifying, then again during the race when I was only four laps shy of earning my best Champ Car finish of fourth. That was frustrating, to say the least, but now we can look forward to San Jose knowing that we are on track and getting back to where we started.
So the crashes in Milwaukee and the disaster from Portland did not give us the confidence that we needed as a team, but after Cleveland and Edmonton, we found the way slowly back, but we ran out of luck -- both times. So we have to wait until the luck comes back to us. That is a hard thing to do, but that is racing! Hopefully that luck will start coming in San Jose and last for the remainder of the season.
The team is doing a great job. The crew that works on my car is amazing; they give 200% all of the time and stay motivated, even when we have bad weekends like Portland. That is what makes the difference. They work hard to find the way to get back in to the top five. We have to keep it like that in order to make our way to the top of the podium.
Ryan is a great teammate. Our relationship continues to grow as the season progresses. Each race, we begin to work better and better together over the weekends. The only dilemma is that we have quite different driving styles. Despite that, I try to help him in every way that I can, in return, I believe he returns the favor and tries to help me. It is definitely a big help that he has so much experience, especially with on-track orientation.
This year is outstanding, in terms of the competition level of the drivers in the series. Racing with names like Cristiano da Matta, Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia, Sebastien Bourdais and Jimmy Vasser, is an honor. Not to mention the rest of the field, Champ Car definitely has some of the best open-wheel drivers in the world. There have been so many different winners this year, showing just how competitive this series really is.
I hope that we have more luck for the rest of the year. I trust that we can find the fast pace that we had in the tests and I am sure that we will be on the podium sooner, rather than later. I will definitely be challenging hard for the Rookie-of-the-Year title, as that is one of my main targets this season in Champ Car racing. I can definitely say that I am happy to be racing in this American-based series, I foresee a great future for the series and I am excited to be a part of it. Let's get back to racing!