Courtesy of Michael DiMeo:
2014 Pirelli World Challenge Season Recap
How time flies! It feels like just yesterday I was boarding a plane to Birmingham, Alabama to join Compass360 Racing (C360R) and begin my first season in Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), and now I’m writing a season recap, reflecting on an unforgettable year.
Leading up to the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park, I was as excited as I had been in a long time. I knew I was staring at an opportunity that I had wanted and worked on for several years, but also recognized that this would be a season of learning. In addition to getting comfortable with the car, I thought my two biggest on-track challenges would be getting up to speed quickly enough at tracks I had never been to, and being consistent in navigating traffic from other classes without impacting their race or mine. Off the track, my biggest challenge, by far, was securing the budget to stay in the car.
The 2014 season included a lot of highs, and only a few lows, and ended with the Driver’s Championship, Rookie of the Year, Team Championship and Crew of the Year awards. It’s not lost on me that drivers don’t get to experience what I did this season and don’t win races, let alone a championship, without a strong car, a talented team and some luck. I was fortunate to have all three. Of the twelve races I entered, we finished on the podium ten times, including eight wins. Before we arrived at the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park, the C360R #71 Civic Si started and finished every single track session during the season and was free from any mechanical issues. I don’t think a driver can ask for any more than that from his team.
Throughout the season, I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who helped and supported me and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.
First and foremost, I feel lucky to have been able to work with the guys on our team and appreciate all they’ve done for me and supporting me without fail. I also could not have asked for a better teammate and team Principal than Karl Thomson, who showed confidence in me from the first time I met him and has been more than willing to share his knowledge, both on and off the track, in order to help me succeed.
From the first race in Alabama to the last in Utah, one thing that didn’t change, regardless of where we were, was the presence and support our team received from NF Heroes and families from the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Rain or shine, they came to the track, hung out with us and cheered for our team. It was awesome to meet everyone that came out and we appreciate all the support we received.
I was also fortunate this season to have a group of companies and individuals that invested in my program. Quite simply, without the commitment from Grand Alarms, York Auto, LiUNA, ENJ, Formcrete, Luxcon, and True Broach & Tool, it’s a certainty that this season would not have happened for me.
I’m very proud to have been a part of the PWC paddock and think in time, when I look back on this season, I will appreciate the people I met and relationships made just as much as the success our team experienced. I met so many people, from fellow drivers and team members from all the classes, to personnel from Pirelli World Challenge, who treated me with courtesy and respect before I had a chance to earn it. Furthermore, I’ve received kind words of support from many people online, some whom I’ve met and many I haven’t, for which I am grateful.
With the 2014 season a wrap, it’s time to begin planning for 2015 in hopes of the opportunity to build upon our work this season.