Brian Simo Long Beach prview

Trans-Am Series champion Brian Simo says preparation will be the determining factor in this week's Trans-Am race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.). The Carlsbad, Calif., racer will make his fourth start on the 1.97-mile Long...

Trans-Am Series champion Brian Simo says preparation will be the determining factor in this week's Trans-Am race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.). The Carlsbad, Calif., racer will make his fourth start on the 1.97-mile Long Beach street circuit, driving the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta with associate sponsorship from Valvoline.

"Time is really at a premium," he said. "You've got to have a pretty good set-up on the car right from the start of practice. If you're way off on the set-up, you're in trouble, because there just isn't enough time to make a lot of changes. If you should have any kind of mechanical problems with the car, and you lose time getting it fixed, that hurts you that much more. Long Beach puts a premium on good car preparation and good teamwork."

Instead of sporting the traditional champion's No. 1, Simo's car carries the No. 88 that took him to victory in 2000. The number was chosen because the heritage of his sponsor, Tommy Bahama, includes elements of Chinese culture, where the numeral 8 is valued as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.

What does it take to win? For Simo, it's tenacity. "My primary asset is determination," he said. "I feel like I'm driven to do things in my life, not just in car racing, but in business and other areas. I am ultra-competitive." An evaluation by Human Performance International showed his competitive profile was "off the charts".

In addition to auto racing and motocross, Simo has participated in barefoot water-skiing, surfing, scuba diving, alpine skiing, snowboarding, skydiving and bungee jumping. His fitness regime includes strength and endurance training.

"Physical fitness is imperative to anything," he stated. "It's imperative for a sharp mind. It helps anything you do -- it helps business, it helps life, it helps all the fun things. I don't think that you can truly excel at something mentally unless you're physically balanced."

Simo hopes his success will encourage others. "I think an important part of any great athlete is they realize that what they do is part of a bigger picture, where they actually truly inspire people," he said. "If there's a way to inspire somebody or motivate somebody or offer hope in any real capacity, it's important."

-TBR

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo