By Mark Robinson
After finishing off a grueling, always-on-the-go weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta that saw him compete in four races across three IMSA-sanctioned series – including a pair of endurance events – Corey Lewis admitted even he was impressed at how good he still felt.
"I was actually quite surprised," Lewis said. "I guess the training that I’ve done paid off because, honestly, at the end of the weekend, after the four-hour (race that concluded the marathon weekend), I felt great. … We could’ve kept going if we had to."
In the TireRack.com Grand Prix, the six-hour-long headline event of the Michelin Endurance Challenge Weekend, Lewis finished second in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class along with teammates Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Over the course of the Sept. 4-6 weekend at Michelin Raceway in Braselton, Georgia, Lewis also drove in two Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races and the VP Stay Frosty Performance Coolants 240, the four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race that wrapped up track activity. By his estimate, Lewis logged more than seven combined hours on track in the three cars.
While triple duty is rare on an IMSA weekend – Lewis said he’d done it once before – it can only be accomplished with precision scheduling and buy-in from the teams for which a driver is competing.
"Fortunately, every team that I drove for – Change Racing (in Super Trofeo), Paul Miller and Motorsports In Action (in Michelin Pilot Challenge) – they fully understood what I was doing and supported it, which was amazing," Lewis said. "It’s just that you’re on that time crunch.
"I’m looking at my schedule (after a session) and I say, ‘I’ve got three minutes, let’s talk about the car, let’s go over some quick video data’ and then it’s on to the next part. That’s the hardest part, trying to give each team and car enough time in terms of setup and talking with the engineers and then working with the co-drivers."
Remembering which car he was driving and its tendencies also presented a challenge – from the Huracán GT3 in the WeatherTech Championship to the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO in Super Trofeo to the McLaren 570S GT4 in Michelin Pilot Challenge. Lewis relied on teammates in each series to provide input such as braking points, but said he gave himself one lap to get reaccustomed to each car in each session.
"If I’m not figuring it out in one lap, I’m just hurting myself and the team," he said.
There were a few hiccups along the way as well. The No. 3 McLaren caught fire in the pits during the opening practice but the Motorsports In Action crew scrambled to put it back together and didn’t miss any track time. Lewis and teammate Sheena Monk finished 14th in the Grand Sport (GS) class race, a lap off the pace.
Lewis brought a ProAm class victory to the No. 63 Change Racing Huracán in the second race of the Super Trofeo weekend, a day after the car sustained damage in an incident with teammate McKay Snow behind the wheel. The No. 63 drivers still lead the ProAm standings by 10 points.
And following the runner-up finish in the WeatherTech Championship GTD race, Lewis, Sellers and Madison Snow hold an eight-point edge on the competition in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings.
Lewis said he may pull triple duty again in IMSA’s season-ending weekend at Sebring International Raceway that includes the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. He’s a race car driver and that’s what they do.
"At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make the most of it and having to do triple duty is just part of the deal," the 28-year-old said. "It’s what I signed up for and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I absolutely loved every second of it, and I felt like the results were never really hindered by driver performance."
The WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge are back in action Sept. 25-27 with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship resumes Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Photo Credit: Jamey Price Photo