Tim Paul: 2014: A Year in Reflection
2014 was an awesome year for me. Both of my team’s, the guys at GTP for Screaming Monkey Racing’s F2000 Championship Series run and ALARA Racing for our mx5 debut really stepped up and made it a year to remember. We did more preseason testing than I have ever done, starting in December right up until the season openers in March, and it really paid off.
Before I talk about my driving experience I want to talk about the teams. Running a race team at all, never mind at the level we are competing with not one but TWO SCCA PRO level series is a feat in itself, and to have the solid foundation that I do in the ALARA Racing team and my friends at GTP really makes getting into the car and going fast worlds easier. I want to thank Glenn and Mike at GTP for the wonderful year/s that they have given me since I started racing in the F2000 Championship Series. They have given me an impossibly confident situation for the entirety of our relationship. ALARA was new to me this year, but it felt like I’ve been with them for eons. Ara and Matt, Justin, Jake, Chris and all the other people that make that program a twice-consecutive championship winning team are fundamentally integral and I want to thank them for everything they have done and for welcoming me with open arms. I love where I am right now. I can’t begin to explain how important all the work that goes on “behind the scenes” is to a driver. SO big THANK YOU to all my team players.
Let’s start by getting this right out in the open: I was faster this year than I ever have been. I really worked hard on bettering myself as a driver this year, focused more on it as an art form and a set of skills than I ever had before. With the fantastic coaching from Jim Kearney and Justin Piscitell, I feel like I really blossomed and reached a level I had never been before. They really got my head in the game and gave me the information I needed to make big strides this year, and to be the fastest I can be.
MX5 Cup is a hell of a series. I’d never driven a fendered race car before, so I am proud as hell to come out in the top 10 in points my rookie season. The competition is super strong and driving those snarky little tanks around was just a laugh a minute. It really is like road racing NASCAR, you can bump and bang and it’s all good. Completely different from open wheel racing where to touch is to die.
F2000 was tough. We missed a lot of races with equipment problems early in the year. Things that could not have been foreseen even with a crystal ball. Unfortunately, sometimes the only time you realize you have a problem is when the part breaks. Then it’s too late. In hindsight, even with a grumpy automobile we were super fast, getting another podium at an iconic track (Watkins Glen FORMULA 1 RACED THERE!) is a feather in the cap of a team who has earned much more than that.
It’s cliché but I can’t thank the teams I drove for enough, ALARA and all their staff, GTP and Screaming Monkey.
I’m proud of our 2014, and 2015 is going to blow some people right out of their socks.
Just you watch.