Jay Schreibman joins us for this week’s edition of the Fast Lane series. Having just started his Ferrari Challenge career in 2018, Jay has already racked up an impressive number of achievements with three wins, 11 trips to the podium and a second-place finish in the Coppa Shell AM category in 2019. This year, Jay has competed in the Coppa Shell class, continuing to enjoy his passion behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo.
Favorite feature of the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo?
The car is I think a huge improvement. That being said, just two years in a race car for me (means) not really able to articulate the nuances that someone might have after 10-15 years of racing. But I will tell you that the two big differences with the car are, one, the feel with the GT-style wheel. There’s so much more feedback through that steering wheel and I’m really able to get a better sense of the line the car is going on and what my job is on the track that day. Number two, the downforce makes a difference. I spend a lot of time looking at data with my coaches and trying to improve my driving. Even at Laguna Seca this year versus last year, we’re seeing how much more speed I’m able to carry as a minimum speed. Those are the two biggest improvements.
How did your passion for racing begin?
Well, I hate to say it out loud, but credit for that has to go to Jeff Segal. All of my racing exposure to racing was through the Corso Pilota program. As a Ferrari customer, I wanted to see what the cars could really do, so the school was the logical way to go. I took four years to complete Corso Pilota and I did all of my courses at COTA, so you’d think I’d be able to get a win there!
Jeff [Segal] was incredibly good and super encouraging in his amazingly sarcastic way and saying that, ‘No, you actually are good; you have talent’. And I was saying, ‘Whatever – you’re just trying to make the customer feel good!’ But he was able to push me to come back for Sport and Advanced and Evo levels. (Getting) into the Challenge car was a major accomplishment for me as I’m claustrophobic – the thought of being strapped in wasn’t exciting for me. But once I got into the car, it was game over. It’s such a difference from driving a street car. When you get in a Challenge car and you feel the performance and the grip and the way it corners, it was just a game changer. I bought the car and did some testing. I was apprehensive about racing alongside other cars at first. All of the challenge coaches, though, really gave me the confidence I could do it, and once I started doing it, it was an addiction.
Tell us a little bit about how you prepare for a Challenge weekend.
It’s really both mental and physical. I definitely train a lot and during COVID I’ve been training a lot with weights and cardio. I practice yoga, which does great things for the mind and calmness. In the trailer before the race, you’ll probably find me sitting in a meditative state or doing down dog in my racing suit and just stretching it out and getting the breadth and oxygen in. Because I’m always learning I put a tremendous amount of effort into my coach work. In the weeks before the race I spend a lot of time in the simulator just learning my points. It’s all new to me, so I have to learn these tracks. I have to learn the braking point, the entry, the best line and, of course, what not to do. I do a lot of data debriefing with Oz Negri [coach], and Oz is really responsible for the success I’ve had. We make a plan and what the car is going to do and what I’m going to do to execute on race weekend.
Can you share with us some of your hobbies when you’re not at the track?
I’ve been accused of never doing anything half way, so I’m passionate about a lot of things. I’m passionate about my cars, so I have a significant and growing collection. I’m very passionate about music and, in fact, early in my life I thought I’d make a living doing that. Now I spend a lot of time with my instruments and guitars. And of course we love traveling, so whether we’re going to Europe or going to Miami or NY or dining out, those (trips) are all super important to me. Now with COVID of course, that’s all on hold and that’s probably the thing I miss the most – missing dining and travel. Even at Laguna, I’d normally extend the weekend and go to Napa, but we have to be responsible.
You mentioned a growing road car collection. Care to share details?
Well, I guess I’d start with my 458 Speciale. That car is just amazing to drive and I love it. I own a Pista spider and a Pista Piloti as well, and as much as I love the Pista, there is something about that 458 Speciale, naturally aspirated, that just does it for me. I also have an F12tdf. I’m respectful of the miles I put on it, but to me the F12tdf is probably the best car that Ferrari has ever made. I own a 355 Spider and a couple of incoming cars as well. My wife has a Tailor Made Portofino and we have a Tailor Made 812 GTS in a kind of Tiffany blue that’s on its way; and we’re excited to see when it comes it. I was actually able to build both of those cars with the Tailor Made team at Ferrari of New York, and just had a tremendous experience there.