Kuno Wittmer in a happy place with AWA Racing following the Roar
WITTMER LEFT DAYTONA IMPRESSED WITH THE WORK OF HIS NEW TEAM
A year ago, Kuno was not exactly certain of his program for the 2019 season. With the news of his signing with Toronto based AWA Racing running a McLaren 570S GT4 for the 2020 season just before the Holidays, it gave him something to look forward to comes the 3-day test at the Roar.
As we ran the Friday highlight from IMSA Michelin Challenge day, Kuno was quite impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of AWA Racing. “The team is solid and I am very impressed. The professionalism is evident. We had no issues with the car at all,” Wittmer had mentioned.
With six sessions over the three days, it gave plenty of time for Wittmer to get acquainted with the group of engineer and mechanics working on the car.
Following a positive start on Friday, the team made adjustments to the McLaren overnight and Kuno ended Saturday morning’s session in P7 only 0.330s off from the fastest time set by the MercedesAMG GT GT4 of Winward Racing. “We made some changes to the car and it gave us a little more pace. That felt very promising given that tires were in good shape. The idea wasn’t to go for a qualifying lap but worked on race pace. Honestly the AWA Racing team is so switched on, we tried a lot of stuff to see what works and what doesn’t and I liked that very much.”
The second session on Saturday was in the very late part of the afternoon as the sun was setting and that gave a special feeling to Kuno that brought him back to driving with headlights into the night during the 24-hour race. “I always loved driving at night and more specifically here at Daytona is quite memorable to me as I drove in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on several occasions.”
The team ran that session with tires that had quite a lot of mileage already and were past their prime. Still, AWA Racing was just over a second off the pace. “Even with older tires the car was very drivable and it is actually pretty impressive in this IMSA Michelin Challenge Series that you could be a second off the pace yet be in P19.” Indeed, there was only 1.7s separating P1 to P24 in that session.
On Sunday, the fifth and sixth session took place and the team had more time to run longer stints. “Two promising sessions as AWA Racing did a great job all weekend and we took advantage of the longer sessions to work on long distance set-up. We feel pretty confident for the race weekend. Honestly the most important thing is to have good team structure and so far I am really impressed form what I am seeing. We walk away from this test with a lot of data and Orey showed great pace and that is something he is very happy about.”
Starting a new season with a new team and a new co-driver may sometimes take a while to gel. But Kuno feels very comfortable with it all. “We have great chemistry going on on-track and off-track as well. We spent quite a bit of time together and that’s very important in terms of communication. Orey’s driver changes are solid, he is very motivated and switched on to succeed.”
With just over two weeks before the first race of the season, Kuno heads back to Montreal feeling extremely positive. He will continue his physical preparation at XPN Centre in St-Hubert, a fitness facility he co-owns, and continue his quest in getting his pilot license accumulating flying time whenever his schedule and weather enables him to do so.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot first practice session is scheduled for Wednesday Jan 22 at 1:30pm. The BMW ENDURANCE CHALLENGE AT DAYTONA FOR THE IMSA MICHELIN PILOT CHALLENGE – 4 HOURS is to take place Friday Jan 24 at 1:00pm.
Image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography