Rookie Collingwood Embraces Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East Series with Full-Throttle Enthusiasm

tom-collingwoodCanadian Tom Collingwood hasn’t yet finished on the podium this year in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series, but he’s enjoying his rookie season and has caught the racing bug.

Collingwood, 39, from Whistler, British Columbia, represents the Canada West PCA Region. This is his first year of competition; he earned his racing license just nine months ago at the 2016 PCA 48 Hours at Sebring in a 1981 Porsche 911 SC.

He dipped his foot into PCA’s High Performance Driver’s Education program from 2013-15 before he decided he wanted to get into racing. Prior to his HPDE experience, he got his start in motorsports by competing in the annual Targa Newfoundland, a six-day, 1,500-mile, tarmac-based rally on paved roads on the island of Newfoundland.

“I heard Porsche was talking about making a Cayman track car, and I just said, ‘I want that,'” Collingwood related. “It was such a cool, rare opportunity, and the timing was just right.”

It’s an understatement to call Collingwood a Porsche enthusiast: He owns 12 Porsches.

“My favorite car I own is a bright-orange GT3 RS [with the Clubsport package],” Collingwood said. “It’s a fully caged car, but you can drive it on the street. Although the GT4 Clubsport experience has really taken a hold of me, this car is allowing me to drive faster in comfort and confidence.”

Collingwood wanted to start racing by competing in a few races this year. The Clubsport series is a perfect fit because it has six events during its inaugural season.

“It’s such a great spec series; it’s actually a luxury to be on the track with just the GT4s,” Collingwood said. “There’s no faster or slower cars – it’s just us. I just have an enthusiasm for the car and the series concept. I get it, and it’s just really cool.

“The camaraderie amongst the teams and drivers this year has been great. Since we are in a spec series, we are part of the same group at every race, and therefore we have gotten to know each other on and off the track throughout the season. The PCA staff has also been amazing.”

“Another thing I like about the series is there’s a Pro category, and we usually have one pro (Jason Hart),” Collingwood said. “That means wherever we go we have an idea of what the benchmark for the car is. Although the Pro drivers typically set the benchmark time, the podium finishers are [close to] those times, so the competition is strong at the front of the pack too.”

Newcomer Collingwood said he was unsure what to expect this season. But he made a breakthrough in his racing technique during the series’ fourth event in June at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).

“I’m just happy to be here and to stay consistent, but I would say VIR was the first race I got really aggressive in the car,” Collingwood said. “I started to get the racing bug really hard there because I was pushing it, and I was comfortable pushing it. I was in the zone and focused.

Collingwood also has another date circled on his calendar – Oct. 21-23, the season finale at Daytona International Speedway.

“Out of this whole year, I’m really looking forward to Daytona,” he said. “Just the history and the big banked turns – it’s going to be crazy. As a racing enthusiast with a Porsche, it’s just an exciting track.”

John Tecce has been a driving force behind Collingwood’s improvement this season. Former GRAND-AM and SCCA competitor Tecce is the director of BGB Motorsports Group and Collingwood’s driving coach.

“Tom is here to learn,” Tecce said. “It’s important to find customers to grow with.”

Tecce drives with Collingwood in most of the 80-minute endurance races in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series. Drivers are allowed to split time with a professional driver in the endurance races but only gain half of the points if they choose that option.

“It takes a load off me, and it’s nice to split it with someone else,” Collingwood said. “It’s also good because he’s working on the car and it helps him to learn first-hand what’s going on with the car.”

Collingwood, who is a Canadian businessman involved in residential and commercial real estate development and the Newfoundland oil and gas industry, lives with his wife and their two-year-old son, Bear.

“We live in the forest and black bears often roam our backyard, so the name was fitting,” Collingwood said.

The laid-back Collingwood said he’s looking forward to visiting different tracks next season, with loftier goals.

“Next year, I definitely want to finish in the top 10, and if I could break into the top five, that would be epic,” Collingwood said. “I have a lot of friends still doing HPDE, and I tell them they can come do this series, too. There’s always room for rookies!”

2016 PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East Remaining Schedule

Date Venue
Oct. 21-23 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida

Source. LST Marketing

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