By John Oreovicz
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trent Hindman is a busy man these days.
Already committed to a dual program for VOLT Racing with Archangel competing in both the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge, the 25-year-old New Jersey native was also tapped by Wright Motorsports as a stand-in for the injured Ryan Hardwick at the first two endurance races of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Co-driving with Patrick Long and Jan Heylen, the No. 16 Wright Porsche 911 GT3R finished fourth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. At the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts a month ago, the trio went two spots better, claiming second place.
Meanwhile in his “day job,” Hindman and co-driver Alan Brynjolfsson had a rough start in their No. 7 VOLT Lighting Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the Pilot Challenge series. They struggled to 21st place in the Grand Sport (GS) class at Daytona, before rebounding to take fourth at Sebring.
The story was much the same in Prototype Challenge. The Hindman/Brynjolfsson No. 7 Ligier JS P320 Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) was involved in a pair of incidents at Daytona, but Hindman anchored the entry to a satisfying victory at Sebring.
Hindman’s only full WeatherTech Championship season to date resulted in the 2019 GTD championship with Mario Farnbacher at Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian. Despite that success, Hindman found himself in 2020 reprising what he did in 2018, competing only in the WeatherTech Championship endurance races for MSR.
Although he already had a relatively full plate in 2021 with the Pilot Challenge and Prototype Challenge rides, Hindman was glad to add the WeatherTech Championship role with Wright to open the season.
“It was a fortunate and unfortunate situation at the same time,” he said. “I was lucky to be there as the guy who got the nod to fill in for Ryan, but that’s also the unfortunate thing. We hope and expect he will be back soon.
“I’d like to think that previous conditioning has prepared me for the situations I’ve encountered this year,” Hindman continued. “Learning on the fly and being versatile is the name of the game. I’ve been fortunate enough in the past to be able to drive multiple different cars or platforms on the same weekend. Going from an LMP3 car to a (Porsche) 911 to a big, heavy, front-engine Aston Martin, all in the same weekend, it’s definitely eye-opening. The approach is entirely different, and you don’t have time to get settled in. Once you get in, you’ve got to go. You don’t have time to think about it or you’ll lose places your teammates worked hard to gain.”
Another reason Hindman has enjoyed his “super sub” role with Wright was the ability to spend time with longtime Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. Like Long, Hindman dreamed of a career in Formula One or IndyCar before opting to pursue opportunities in sports car racing.
Long fostered an enduring and effective relationship with Porsche, driving for the marque in various forms of sports car racing around the world and serving as a brand ambassador who ultimately developed the popular Luftgekühlt Porsche exhibition.
“Pat Long is a great example of a young American who looked ahead at what he wanted his career to ultimately be,” observed Hindman. “I’ve known him for quite some time, but now I’ve had the opportunity to co-drive with him in some of the biggest endurance races in the world. To work with him directly and see not just the level of driver, but the level of person it takes to achieve that sort of longevity and status in his career, that was really eye-opening for me.
“That’s really how and where you want your career to go, to model it on a guy like that,” he added. “I wouldn’t have a racing career if I stayed on the open-wheel path. That’s the path I was sort of heading down, but the only realistic path to make a career out of racing cars was in sports cars – having the opportunity in Pro-Am categories like the Michelin Pilot Challenge, and now what GTD has turned into. That’s where the opportunities were going to be, and that’s how it’s worked out. I’m so happy and fortunate to be where I’m at now.”
While Hindman is happy with his current status, he would be happier still if he could land a factory-supported ride in the future. With the introduction of the GTD PRO category to the WeatherTech Championship in 2022 and considerable manufacturer interest in entering IMSA’s 2023 LMDh prototype class, Hindman could be positioned to capitalize on the upcoming boom.
“There’s still plenty of work to do,” he confirmed. “The ultimate goal in sports car racing for a guy in my position is to be working directly with and for a major manufacturer. That’s something I got a little taste of in the past, and it’s something I continue to work toward.
“Of course, you want to be in position to drive an LMDh car and contend for overall wins. But even now, I’m in a situation I think most drivers in my position would dream of. I have the opportunity to be versatile and learn from different platforms and different people every weekend. Everyone I work with is excellent at what they do, and it gives me a great base of knowledge to draw upon in each of those different programs.”