Sebring LMP2 wins validation of Scott Huffaker’s rising expertise
Think about being 21 years previous and having your title within the historical past books as a two-time winner on the 12 Hours of Sebring.
That’s the fact Scott Huffaker has come to know as a member of the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports LMP2 crew, and for the younger Californian who bought his begin in open-wheel racing, his emergence as a expertise to look at in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has come as a shock.
“I began off going the components automobile route, and I did the Crew USA Scholarship in 2019, however I’ve by no means completed the Highway to Indy,” he instructed RACER. “I’d been working with PR1 since 2016 with components vehicles on the West Coast, and so they clearly run in IMSA and the mannequin there appeared much more constant for getting somebody to a professional degree. It felt like with PR1, attending to the highest degree is likely to be a bit of bit simpler, in order that’s why I made a decision to go this route.”
Huffaker was completely spectacular throughout his journey to England whereas representing Crew USA. Incomes a podium end on the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy Formulation Ford occasion, the Bay Space native bought probably the most out of the expertise. However with a scarcity of funding to proceed pursuing his open-wheel dream with a full-season marketing campaign, Huffaker wanted to discover a state of affairs the place his racing schooling would proceed in an enviornment that was extra reasonably priced. PR1’s No. 52 ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2, with teammates in younger professional Mikkel Jensen and top-tier newbie Ben Keating, has supplied every part he wanted.
“My household, we don’t have a ton of cash to spend on racing, so I knew that with each race I did, I needed to make absolutely the most of it,” he stated. “It’s been beginning to go rather well. I’m beginning to get some traction in IMSA and I’ve discovered lots. Even simply these final two races, I believe my driving as an entire has gotten so significantly better from with the ability to work with Mikkel.
“The largest factor for me is you could have breakthroughs in your driving. You progress and you then plateau a bit of bit, and you then get by a breakthrough after which plateau… I really feel like I’m at some extent the place I’m getting near the place the highest drivers are, and I wasn’t capable of develop like that in components vehicles. I’ll be working with Mikkel Jensen all season, and I don’t assume I may have gotten this far wherever else, to be sincere. It’s been priceless.”
Huffaker, Jensen, and Keating lead the LMP2 standings after the primary two rounds. Regardless of their early success, Huffaker says he’s extra within the classes that arrive with every outing. Younger and gifted drivers are nothing new within the WeatherTech Championship, however Huffaker is considerably completely different from his contemporaries as a result of lack of in depth coaching previous to reaching LMP2.
He doesn’t have two or three years of stable Highway to Indy, Michelin Pilot Problem, or IMSA Prototype Problem expertise to construct upon. For Huffaker, IMSA’s second-fastest class is the place the muse is being created.
“It was a bit of little bit of a leap into the deep finish,” he added. “In 2019 I ran some LMP3 Prototype Problem races, however not the entire season, and earlier than that, I raced a F4 automobile. So, going from F4 to the P3 felt like a giant leap, however I felt like I tailored pretty shortly. However then after I jumped to the P2 automobile, it felt like one other enormous step up. I believed it was going to be lots nearer to the P3, but it surely actually took me a bit of little bit of time, as a result of I had nearly no observe within the P2 automobile; perhaps about 15 laps in it. Then I went to the Six Hours of Highway Atlanta final yr and that was my first time racing in LMP2.”
He’d rating a debut win in LMP2 and continues to develop with every outing within the collection. Due to his age and no matter quantity of untapped potential that continues to be, Huffaker sees a world of alternatives forward and might’t wait to seek out the place his future is held.
“It’s arduous to say precisely what the purpose is as a result of my purpose has at all times simply been to be on the high degree of any sort of racing, and being paid to do this,” he stated. “So if somebody from IndyCar was desirous about me, I’d love to do this. If somebody stated to return strive a DPi automobile, I might love to do this. If I may full write the script on my profession, I’d be a manufacturing facility driver. That’s at all times been dream.”