At 17, Oklahoma driver sets his sights on GT4/GTS Championship
SONOMA, Calif. – Racer Nate Stacy has already established several road racing records at age 17.
Back in 2014, the current high school junior from Owasso, Okla., became the youngest race winner in Pirelli World Challenge history at age 14 when he captured the TCB class at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport).
Last year, at 16, Stacy was the youngest race winner in the GT4/GTS when he held off a variety of challenges from a strong field to win at Sonoma Raceway. He went on to place second in the final division point standings after a solid campaign that included four second place finishes and four thirds. That’s nine podium finishes for the talented young competitor.
Last November, Stacy signed to drive for the legendary sports car organization, Flying Lizard Motorsports, in 2017 with a new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR machine in the 20-race Pirelli World Challenge GT4/GTS class. Stacy is one of several teenagers who gained notoriety in the 2016 PWC trail with impressive performances.
“During the last two seasons in Pirelli World Challenge, I have had the opportunity to watch some of the other classes, especially the GTS class and follow the progress of some of the up and coming talent,“ said Darren Law, Team Principle and Program Manager for Flying Lizard Motorsports. “This is a great platform for young drivers, and Nate Stacy is one who really caught my eye.”
Law knows what he is looking for when he scouts potential driving talent as the veteran sports car racer has captured his share of championships and big races including the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Law’s expertise with young drivers makes Stacy’s new Porsche ride with Flying Lizard Motorsports one to watch in 2017.
“It means a lot to me as a driver to be a part of this effort,” said Stacy. “It’s a big step for me to run with such a proven race team with so much history. With their experience, it’ll be exciting to learn so much from Darren and the whole team.”
While spending time with his school work, Stacy also has been concentrating on his fitness in preparation for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season.
“I have been working out very hard this winter to get ready for the racing season,” said Stacy. “In talking with Darren and the team, I knew I need to improve my fitness level. I have lost some weight and helped my cardio. And then we traveled to Germany last month to go through the Porsche Fitness Program. It was a great experience to visit such a historic place with the museum, race headquarters and fitness center.”
Law felt the Germany trip to Porsche would help Stacy in his understanding of Porsche’s great history, to meet a variety of doctors and learn what Porsche has developed for their factory and junior drivers. Stacy participated in the driver fitness camp at the Potsdam University Outpatient Clinic at Brandenberg.
“Nate went through the fitness program that Porsche has developed,” said Law, who joined Stacy on the Germany trip. “This was an opportunity for Nate to meet with a team of doctors and physios and not only to go through the evaluation tests but get educated on what Porsche has learned over the years from a fitness and nutritional standpoint. I knew he learned a lot about what it takes to be in proper shape to compete at the top level.”
In addition, Law took Stacy to the Porsche Research and Development center in Weissach as well as visiting the Porsche museum in Stuttgart.
“Nate had the opportunity to see where the race cars are built and developed,” said Law. “He saw some of the history of Porsche and got a better understanding of the Porsche culture.”
Next for Stacy was his first test of the season with his new mount, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, at Sonoma Raceway and Nate was thrilled with the initial findings.
“The Porsche Cayman GT4 is much different from driving the Ford Mustang the last few years,” explained Stacy. “The Porsche has a six-speed paddle shifter gearbox compared to the old H-pattern shifting in the Mustang. The Porsche’s braking was outstanding and the car is 700 pounds lighter than the Mustang. The tires felt different and I was working on my lines in the corners from last year’s driving style. I’m very excited with the new Porsche Cayman GT4.”
Stacy will be teaming up with young Brazilian driving star Rodrigo Baptista in the Flying Lizards GT4/GTS lineup in the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge.
“I’m anxious to work with Rodrigo in testing as we prepare for the 2017 season opener in the streets of St. Petersburg,” said Stacy. “Last year, the class was very competitive with the variety of cars like of the Mustang, Camaro, KTM X-Bow, Sin Car, Ginetta, Aston Martin, Maserati and Lotus. Now, you add in the Porsche Cayman, the new Mustang and Camaro and the GT4/GTS class is really going to be a great class to watch this year.”
Stacy and his fellow GT4/GTS competitors make their first 2017 racing appearance in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 10-12 in the Pirelli World Challenge season opener as part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with the Verizon IndyCar Series.