The Forging of a Local Legend
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (August 30, 2018) – Performance Tech Motorsports driver and Sheboygan, Wisconsin native James French is coining a legacy at Road America that very few can rival.
When not traversing North America with the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports / Centinel Spine LMP2 French is often spotted flying around Road America in anything with four wheels and a motor. Most recently he took to the track in a new machine; the JP Motorsports No. 55 Toyota stockcar in the NASCAR Xfinity series. While French jumped at the opportunity to conquer a new car he also aimed to get back to his roots of racing for fun rather than championship points.
“A friend I race SCCA with connected me with JP Motorsports just a few weeks ago,” French said. “The car they gave me was a blast. It was lively and fun to drive. I’m not used to driving something so heavy so being able to go sideways through the kink and Canada corner like that was awesome. It was an overall great weekend cruising around my home track.”
Motorsport fans love the hometown hero, a role French has quickly taken ownership of at Road America. Having driven there in at least four professional series and a plethora of club events has given French a comfortable swagger both on and off the track that fans can’t resist. The locals eagerly welcomed him back as their top-pick for the weekend, quickly pushing the rest of the Xfinity drivers to the wayside.
French credits his comfort at the track as well as his support system for getting up to speed so quickly. A stockcar weighs approximately 3,500 lbs., over 1,500 lbs. more than his No. 38 LMP2 car. Difference in weight combined with the use of traditional disk brakes rather than carbon ones presented him with a serious learning curve.
“The style of driving this car was quite a bit different,” French said. “The last time I drove something so heavy with such low downforce was back in Skip Barber. If I learned anything this weekend in regard to the LMP2 it was that carbon brakes and high downforce designs are something to be grateful for.
“The field of 40 cars also taught me some interesting race craft techniques. For example, the tire and brake management is way more important in stockcars. If I improve upon them I think it will make me a better driver overall in any car.”
While his race was cut short due to a brake failure, French still walked away from the weekend full of gratitude. He saw the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a stockcar as a learning experience that can be used to further his career. French looks forward to taking his new-found race techniques and applying them to his next race; The Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“I really want to thank my teammate Howard Jacobs, Cardio Access, and SKELETON Optics for providing me with this opportunity this weekend,” French said. “It’s awesome in racing when your teammates become your friends both on and off the track. I wouldn’t have been able to do this this weekend without their help.”
French and Performance Tech Motorsports are using the remainder of September to prepare for one of the years pinnacle races, The Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The historic ten-hour race takes place Oct. 9-13 in Braselton, Georgia. For tickets and event details visit sportscarchampionship.imsa.com/events/2018-motul-petit-le-mans.