Late summers in Austin, Texas are notoriously fiery, but that didn’t stop fans from gathering at Circuit of The Americas over the weekend to watch the penultimate race of Pirelli World Challenge’s 2017 season. Nate Stacy didn’t secure the finish that he had hoped, but the weekend was still a successive one for NSR and Flying Lizard Motorsports.
Practice on Thursday had Nate feeling ready for the weekend. He consistently turned quick laps, leaving him in a prime position for a solid performance moving forward. Going into Saturday, Stacy felt that the qualifying session would be a satisfying one.
Qualifying gave Nate yet another opportunity to learn even more about his Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. Blistering track temps combined with new tires had the car handing uniquely, causing Nate to power through a new learning curve. Nate secured a P12 finish, setting him up nicely for that afternoon’s race.
Saturday’s race featured track temps of above 100 degrees. These conditions offered an interesting change from Stacy’s past COTA experiences. Nate managed to climb from 12th to 9th place, but Martin Barkey of Mantella Autosports managed to pull ahead. Nate finished the race in the top ten, landing solidly in 10thplace. However, due to an infraction and subsequent disqualification of another racer, Stacy was awarded a 9th place finish.
The final race of the weekend showcased a stellar standing start by Stacy. He managed to jump from 11th to 7th within the first few seconds, an impressive performance. As the race charged on, Nate was pushed back to 8th after losing a battle to Scott Dollahite in SDR Motorsports’ Lotus Evora.
Regarding the track’s idiosyncrasies, Nate Stacy had a lot to say. The “essess” were challenging, he claims, but fun to drive. “See, the esses start with a quick sweeping lefthander,” Nate explains, “then the track narrows and goes to the right, then narrows even further as it drifts to the left, and then widens back up as it comes back to the right. They’re one of my favorite aspects of this track.” Regarding his success in this section, Nate credits his hefty log of at-home simulator time.
The other aspect of the track that Nate battled with is known as the Carousel. This section is a wide, reducing radius right hander that is prolonged and at high speed. Over the weekend, Nate was good-naturedly accused of “breaking the carousel” by a fellow racer, leading him to redouble his efforts to master this feature of COTA. By the end of the weekend, Nate felt that he had managed to conquer the “Horse Tornado”, as he rechristened it.
Nate Stacy is looking forward to the final race of the season in Sonoma, California on September 15th-17th. All in all, Nate feels confident, but knows that he faces incredibly talented competitors who are all vying for a podium finish. Stacy currently sits 4th in points, with a very small gap between those placed ahead of him. It is possible that Nate could secure a top three spot for this season’s championship. In the meantime, Stacy will visit Sonoma for testing this week to boost familiarity and track experience.