HOUSTON (Oct. 8, 2014) — Jerome Mee’s first career TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event at Road Atlanta ended near the halfway point of the famed 10-hour Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda endurance race Oct. 4.
It was a day filled with learning for Mee, 48, who drove wide into Turn 12 in his second driving stint of the race, ending Performance Tech Motorsports’ run in the Prototype Challenge category.
“It was exciting to kick off my first time racing at this level, but it was challenging, as I found,” Mee said.
From Left: James French, David Ostella, Jerome Mee
David Ostella, one of Mee’s Performance Tech Motorsports co-drivers, experienced an electrical issue early in the race. Performance Tech’s mechanics fixed the problem, but the repair time proved costly, leaving Ostella, Mee and third co-driver James French 19 laps down.
“We knew we were going to have a long way to go, but there were 9 ½ hours to go in the race and anything can happen, so we just put our heads down,” Mee said.
Mee took over for Ostella for his first stint in the No. 38 Dash Neighborhood/Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge car, finding his rhythm right away and avoiding multiple surrounding incidents.
“Toward the end of my first stint coming out of Turn 11, I was with a group of one PC car and two GTLM cars,” Mee said. “As I came around Turn 7, we were all packed up, and I got on the throttle a little too early. My rear tire was on the curbing, and I slid sideways a little bit off the wall.”
The car stalled, forcing Mee to drive to pit lane. A broken bolt was found – a quick fix for the Performance Tech crew before sending co-driver French back on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course.
Mee replaced French four hours into the 10-hour event for his second and final stint.
“I got back into the car, got about an hour in, felt pretty good and made several passes,” Mee said. “I came down into Turn 10 and was behind a Ferrari GTLM. I passed him on the outside coming up the hill and came down the hill (into Turn 12) too wide, and that was pretty much the end of it.
“I was disappointed in my own performance with that. I had made that turn over the course of the week many times without incident, and I just did it wrong.”
The early exit left Mee yearning for improvement during the offseason leading into the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
“I’m a 48-year-old gentleman driver who is still developing, and I have a lot of things I need to work on,” Mee said. “I’m going to work with Performance Tech on developing a training program so that I can get as much possible seat time as I can. On top of that, I’m going to try and drop another 20 pounds. I will lift a little bit, but it’s going to be mostly cardiovascular work. The better physically in shape you are, the better mentally you are in the car, and I want to be as crisp as I can be for these entire endurance events.”
Mee plans to race with Performance Tech Motorsports in 2015 at the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen and Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
For the latest updates from Mee, follow @AVRteam95 and @Perf_Tech on Twitter.