My name is Corey Fergus. I race the #197 Honda Civic Si for RSR Motorsports in Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The second race of the season for the CTSCC was at the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track in Austin, Texas. This was easily one of the most anticipated races of the season as ours was the first race on the circuit since the Formula 1 race back in November. To be racing on the same track and standing where some of the world’s best drivers were was pretty cool, to say the least.
Only test days had been held leading up to our race, so not very many drivers had been to the track before. Therefore, there was a relatively level playing field entering the race. The first day, most people had quite the learning curve. For me, it took four laps and I was second fastest. Normally, I prepare for a race track I’ve never been to by using iRacing, an online-based simulation where tracks are laser scanned for 100 percent accuracy. COTA is too new for iRacing, so I resorted to other methods.
Just like studying for an exam in school, studying a track before you compete on it is key to passing the test or being successful. I watched as many YouTube videos as possible and purchased the F1 2012 video game for Playstation 3. Since I couldn’t do laps in person, I did as many as I could in the game. When I got on track for the first time in practice, I knew exactly where I was going and it didn’t take long to get up to speed.
Qualifying went well. I put our 2011 Honda Civic Si on the outside pole by 0.048 seconds. So close! The race went equally as well. I quickly moved into the lead and led more laps (13) than any ST driver in the field. I pitted in the lead and handed the car over to my co-driver, Owen Trinkler. After a penalty on the pitstop, Owen worked his way back from 18th to finish fifth. After a 12th-place finish at Daytona, this put us fourth in the championship standings. Consistency, among other factors, is what wins championships. We need to keep finishing well.
Not only had our team never been to COTA, but we also brought out the second new Honda Civic Si of the season. Out of the three cars RSR Motorsports is running, two of them are new 2012 Hondas. My Honda is the only 2011 in the series. We plan on making the switch soon for my car. The older car is working great, but I look forward to getting behind the wheel of the new Honda Civic as well. It’s comforting, knowing that HPD is there to help and support us as we convert to the newer cars.
Overall, the COTA weekend went very well. We collected very valuable points towards the championship for ourselves and helped Honda move to third in the Manufacturers’ Championship, as did the #75 Compass 360 Honda Civic (Eversley/Gimple) with a sixth-place finish. They now lead the championship. Although we’re all competitors, it is always nice to see other Hondas running well. After all, we’re trying to win the team, driver, and manufacturers’ championships.