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In motorsports we have a large array of relationships we build, from the perspectives of business, crew, competitors, spectators and of course, teammates. For any young racer or driver that is struggling to stay an integral part of the racing community, I can't stress enough just how important relationship building is and in our world of multi-class & multi-driver line-ups, the "teammate" is a big one.
Now in my fifth year with CJ Wilson Racing, I started the season with my 10th different teammate, most of which, came in the first season as we were developing into a program that could operate a two-car effort. These are people that I have coached, improved with and become, in a way, brothers. Most I consider friends, people I actively stay in touch with – not out of obligation, but because they are like family to me. They have been a teammate – and in this industry and our series in particular – there has to be something more cohesive than just sharing a car.
Standing on the podium with all of your teammates like we did in this year in Monterey (our #33 ONE Capital / MotorOilMatters and #35 Safecraft Safety Equipment Porsche Caymans finished 2nd and 3rd) is one of those moments that you don't forget, in part, because you get to share it with ones you typically spend the most time.
I watched both Danny Burkett and Till Bechtolsheimer go to the front after the green dropped and drive perfect opening stints. Sure, while cameras were rolling I played it cool, but as soon as they turned away I was a beacon of giddy pride like I was watching a little brother riding his bike without training wheels for the first time. When it came my turn to get behind the wheel, I knew that one of my closest friends, Tyler McQuarrie, would be in our sister car. Tyler and I have been co-drivers and rarely race against one another, so this was a new dynamic to go toe-to-toe with someone I know is super fast in anything he drives. Teammate or not ≠ inside the racecar everyone is your competitor and we diced it up hard for 45 minutes dive-bombing and passing each other like friends at an indoor karting track not giving an inch. Afterwards, we all shared a drink of champagne talking about how we wish we were one step higher on the podium together.
I have been very fortunate to have created great friendships with my teammates. The downside of this sport though, given the nature of the business of motorsports, is the fact that you don't always have the ability to stay co-drivers for years and years. It happens, and when it does, it can open the door to great successful careers truly built together. For Danny Burkett and I, I hope we have that opportunity to continue what we've started. In sports car endurance racing – sharing championships is part of the game – it's what being a teammate is all about.
This post originally appeared on My Life at Speed.