GT4 Competitors Hart and Travis Take a Fun Approach to Serious Business
After two years of rapprochement, the Pirelli GT4 America Pro-Am pair of Matt Travis and Jason Hart could be on the verge of winning a championship. The drivers of the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche Cayman dominated the first part of the season, and if the victories did not come in the second half, they could leave Sebring International Raceway this weekend with an unassailable lead at the championship.
The hood of their Cayman is adorned with a picture of a Cougar and the word “ME” – just like the hood of Ricky Bobby’s stock car in the film’s final race. Nights of Talladega. Indeed, a conversation with the two Texans featured a few quotes from the film itself, including Hart’s response to the reason for their success: âI’m the best that ever was. I wake up in the morning and piss excellence. But the discussion got more serious afterwards.
âI think it’s about execution,â says Travis, the Am in the Pro-Am equation. âGood weekend or bad weekend, we take a really organized, albeit fun approach, try to make fewer missteps, and I think that made us really consistent. It’s about pit stops, performing pit stops, it’s about laps, lapsâ¦ it’s about finding whatever perks we can find, and it seems to pay off more often than not.
Hart, who has driven everything from the Trans-Am TA2 to off-road and earns much of his life coaching and data analysis, credits much to Travis’ analytical approach as well as his desire. to win, not just to run. of their success as a couple.
âI think there is a link between us on several levels,â he explains. âHe understands the data very, very well, given that he does a lot of analysis in his day job, so it makes sense to him. There’s another part where Matt took the Formula SAE program in college, so he understands how a vehicle works in all of its aspects – differentials, transmissions, aerodynamicsâ¦ I think that’s a big part of it. the reason he’s able to sit down, look at the data, and figure out the vehicle dynamics that are involved at certain points on the track where we’re trying to get the car to do something.
Travis makes a living working as an accountant for oil companies. He built a business, sold it, and continues to work for it. A passion for cars turned into a passion for track driving, and eventually led to meeting Hart and racing. How they met is indeed a story in itself.
“I was bombing around Harris Hill Raceway [a motorsports club near San Marcos, Texas] in a Lotus Esprit. The track director came up to me after I had a few huge off, yard off the track on turn 1 at about 90â¦ massive. I was picking up rocks in the divider, he walked over to me and said, ‘I’m glad you’re having fun. If you ever want to learn more about racing and driving you should call this guy, “and pointed to a banner. At the time, I was perfectly happy to bombard around broken dividers. But later, when I got to the point where I was ready for the next step, I remembered the conversation, âsays Travis. Unfortunately, he didn’t remember the name, but there was something that stood out …
âI remembered there was this wacky logo with wings and brass knuckles on it, so I started googling – and I’m not kidding -â wacky racing driver logos; and “red-haired runner”. In the end, the âTexas racing driver logoâ yielded a result. I emailed him out of the blue, we went to Texas World Speedway in a Lotus, and we progressed from there. In fact, we collect this email every two years, laugh about it, and remember how we started. It has been quite a trip; I started from scratch as a driver. My reflexes are slower than most and I don’t have any particular talent so I’m grateful for the couple because all the abilities I bring to whatever pace I have is thanks to this guy.
Travis and Hart have a 63-point lead, with just 100 points remaining on the table in the last four races at Sebring and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s a solid trail, but not one that they can totally rely on. And they don’t want to either.
âMatt’s desire is to win races, just like mine,â Hart said. âWe won’t back down for the points. We could be smart or careful, or leave an extra three inches in some of the passages we do; but winning is what we’re here for. We want to push whatever we can get, and that doesn’t mean we think we can win every race, but we’ll do everything we can to see if we can win every race.