Justin Wetherill and Triarsi Racing came to Fanatec GT World Challenge America and GT America by a pretty typical route — through a one-make GT series, in their case, Ferrari Challenge. And as many drivers and teams do when making the jump to GT3, they stuck with what they knew, bringing three Ferrari 488 GT3s — two in GT World Challenge, a Pro-Am entry for Wetherill and Ryan Dalziel, and a Pro-Am entry for Onofrio Triarsi and Charlie Scardina. In addition, Wetherill is running the third car in GT America.
“We were doing the Challenge program for a couple of years with Triarsi,” said Wetherill. “One of my goals was to help him build the program and help get him back in the car again. So coming and racing GT cars for me seemed like the next natural step. And Onafrio Jr. also had an interest in joining and participating in building a team, so there was a good opportunity to help him take the team to the next level, and then we continue to grow as drivers.”
Wetherill had worked with Dalziel as a coach in Ferrari Challenge, and being a relative newcomer to the sport, his resources when it came to finding a Pro co-driver he could work with weren’t vast and Dalziel was the natural choice. It also helped that Triarsi is somewhat local to Dalziel in Florida, and Dalziel hadn’t had the opportunity before now to work with a local team. But mostly, Dalziel saw the potential. The pairing and move to GT3 paid off quickly, with Wetherill and Dalziel claiming their first GT World Challenge America victory at VIR, with Wetherill following that up with a GT America win at Nashville.
“Being involved in a number of new programs, I think it’s exactly what I expected,” explained Dalziel before the Road America rounds. “When I look back at some previous teams I’ve been involved in since day one, it takes a number of years to catch up to the K-PAXes of the world. But I think in the last few races, everything is starting to come together. We have good people with good cars, so we’re just trying to execute all the little stuff every weekend. We’ve not had a perfect weekend yet. Considering the results we’re getting, the people here, there’s a lot of room for growth.”
Wetherill came to racing through his love of street cars. The company he founded — mobile device repair shop uBreakiFix — afforded him the ability to enjoy some high-performance road cars, which led him to racing. After selling the company to Asurion, with whom he works as a consultant, he had time and budget to start delving deeper into the sport.
After some success in Ferrari Challenge, GT3 is the next mountain to climb. While the Ferrari Challenge car and the 488 GT3 have the same basic recipe, there are some pretty big differences as well.
“We’ve got a little less power and a lot more tire,” Wetherill explained. “It really comes down to rolling a lot more speed and braking later. It’s a significantly more G-load in this car over the Challenge car. The Challenge car is an incredible piece of machinery, but it’s a little more point and shoot, where this one is trying to carry more speed through the corner. So it’s led to an adjustment in driving style. I drove a Challenge car with one foot, I drive this one with two. It’s little things and big things. But this car feels really planted and I still haven’t found the limits of it.”
“Justin only has one book of plays right now, and it’s Challenge and this is him starting the next chapter,” added Dalziel. “Challenge is a really good starting point for these guys, but it’s still based around the street car — skinny tires, street car ABS, pedal boxes straight out of a street car. There are a lot of things that he got dialed in really well and he was a frontrunner every weekend at the end of Challenge, then he comes over here and you feel like an absolute novice again.”
With the Am championship effectively decided for Triarsi and Scardina, and a win in the books for Dalziel and Wetherill, it’s not bad for a first-year effort.
“If we stop right now, I consider it a success,” said Dalziel. “We’ve had great reliability. This all came together very late; it was initially going to be a one-car team, Justin and Jr. were going to drive together. I was going to stay with DXDT, and then it switched to a two-car team to run a Pro-Am car. I think to win races in your first year, win races any year, is tough. So it’s already something to look back on and be happy where we are. But at the same time, I’m encouraged that I think there’s so much more potential there, and we’re ironing out a lot of these creases every weekend.”
Dalziel and Wetherill, along with the rest of the GT World Challlenge America competitors, are back in action this weekend at Sebring International Raceway.