Inside Mazda MX-5 Cup: Champ Wagner units the bar excessive
Gresham Wagner’s fourth season within the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Offered by BFGoodrich could possibly be his hardest up to now. Because the reigning champion, all eyes are usually on him, but it surely’s much less about that than the stress he places on himself.
“Sure, I really feel extra stress on myself,” says Wagner. “Coming in because the defending champion there’s extra expectation from others, but it surely’s largely from myself, as a result of I do know what I can do.”
Up to now, Wagner’s title-defending season has been strong, however not excellent. By the primary six rounds, he’s scored a race win along with three different podium appearances, putting him third within the total standings because the collection heads to Watkins Glen Worldwide for Rounds 7 and eight, June 25-26.
He suffered a drive-through penalty through the opening weekend in Daytona that knocked him out of competition within the first race, however recovered with a second-place end within the second race. The streets of St. Petersburg delivered a double-podium, whereas the win in Mid-Ohio’s weather-shortened, half-points first race was countered by a fifth-place end within the second.
Understanding that ups and downs are inevitable in racing, the 24-year previous from Williamsburg, Va., tries to maintain all of it in perspective.
“I at all times attempt to keep life like, since you by no means know what’s going to occur,” he says. “The extent within the collection is so excessive proper now, actually the best it’s been since my first full season in 2019, so there’s no relaxation; now we have to give attention to getting factors within the bag early. Final yr we got here from behind with three wins in a row to win the championship, however that’s not the best state of affairs.”
Wagner stays assured in his personal talents, and the truth that the group round him at Spark Efficiency has remained a tight-knit unit over a number of seasons helps a fantastic deal. In addition to racing in MX-5 Cup, Wagner additionally maintains a full-time profession as an information analyst within the healthcare area for Gainwell Applied sciences. The main focus and a spotlight to element required in that function appears to hold over to the race monitor
“We all know what works. We aren’t guessing or looking for solutions, in order that’s not one thing we fear about,” Wagner says of he and his group. “The priority is round what we are able to’t management and the small margins. That’s one thing we are able to by no means be assured about. When there are solely a few drivers in competition, it’s a lot simpler to regulate the race, however proper now there are a number of drivers ready to win. Nobody goes to take it simple on one another.”
MX-5 Cup returns to upstate New York’s storied Watkins Glen for the primary time in 5 years, and it is going to be a brand new expertise for Wagner.
“I believe it would race equally to Street Atlanta or Sebring. There shall be a whole lot of drafting within the first a part of the lap earlier than it will get tight and technical on the second half,” says Wagner, who’s seeking to proceed his streak of no less than getting on the rostrum at each monitor. “I’ve set my bar fairly excessive. With two races every weekend, we’ve had one good race and one much less good up to now. We haven’t slowed down and, usually, once we get to the monitor as a group now we have a reasonably good racecar proper out of the field. So, we simply must proceed doing what we’ve at all times carried out, and never take something with no consideration.”
Don’t miss the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Offered by BFGoodrich because it roars again into motion for Rounds 7 and eight at Watkins Glen Worldwide, June 25-26. All races are streamed dwell on RACER.com and archived on the RACER journal YouTube channel. To view the complete season schedule and be taught extra concerning the collection go to www.mx-5cup.com.