My name is Michael Lewis and I am a race car driver from Southern California for EFFORT Racing’s No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3R in the Pirelli World Challenge GT class.
To begin with a brief background on how Porsche Motorsport North America and EFFORT Racing allowed for me to drive their awesome new car this year, over the many seasons of racing, numerous teams and people have allowed for me to drive some pretty cool race cars. All of those experiences have led up to the opportunity to race in a super competitive field with various GT car manufacturers, strong teams and fast drivers.
You can scan through some of these photos embedded in this blog to see what I’ve been up to since the start of my career. Overall, it’s pretty crazy to think that after starting out in go-karts and quarter midgets when I was 12 years old that I would now be racing a Porsche 911 GT3R for a strong team alongside factory driver Patrick Long.
I’m pretty honored to be in this position and work alongside such guys like Patrick, my engineer Stefan Pfeiffer, our team manager Erin Gahagan, and to represent Porsche Motorsport North America as their official PMNA Young Driver for this season.
This will be the second year with EFFORT Racing and having that consistency going into a stacked racing series will be so nice. Everyone on the team is the same, with the exception of my new teammate. Last year, Ryan Dalziel was in the No. 31 car (the sister car to the No. 41) and he was one of the coolest people to have as a teammate on and off the track. Not only is he fast, but he is a stand-up guy and one of the most honest, up-front and kind people I have ever met. It was fun to race with him and to help him sometimes, when he was struggling with tires, or if I was a bit faster or whatever; all to protect his position to allow him to earn more points for a particular race as he was in a close battle for the championship.
This year, Patrick Long is now in the No. 31 car, and I look forward to being a team player and to challenging for podium finishes and victories. The whole teammate dynamic is an interesting thing. It’s so special when two drivers and a team gel and the drivers can really feed off of each other to make the cars faster. It’s also cool when you get some help, on the track, from your teammate because things go full circle; then the next time around, you’ll help him out if he or she is struggling with pace.
To deviate to the past for a moment, if you’ve been looking at the photos with this column, you’ve likely noticed the quarter midget with the No. 9 on the hood. That cool photo was taken by our friend Chris Swanson, and it is special because that is the first car I ever entered into a race.
If you know anything about quarter midgets, you would know that they only race on ovals. It’s pretty cool how oval racing was at the beginning of my career, yet road racing is where I currently find myself. It was a cool experience to get started out on the ovals and to learn about that culture before branching off and embracing the road racing side of things through karting and formula cars. Road racing has been my main focus and where my emphasis has always been, however, my roots are in oval racing and I have a lot of passion for midget racing and I even enjoy following NASCAR; those guys are talented.
Long story short, whatever car a team puts me in or I can get into, I’ll drive it. Road courses, street courses, ovals, whatever — there is a race to win and a car to do it with; lets go!
Anyway, this is a chance for you to get to know who I am, so you can have a driver, team and manufacturer to root for in the Pirelli World Challenge (maybe you already do have a favorite car, team, and driver, but this could be a chance to pull for a second driver in the series).
I hope that you follow along with our Porsche racing season and be sure to check out our social media links (below).
We thank EFFORT Racing and Porsche Motorsport North America for providing this year’s opportunity and also to The Smile Generation, Curb Records, ASE, Cometic Gasket Inc., and countless others for their Personal Athlete Endorsements for 2016.
Thank you to everyone who has helped my career to date and it will be awesome to kick off the 2016 season at the Circuit of The Americas March 3-6. It’s such a nice, flowing circuit where each part of the track is connected nicely; there is that steep turn one, which leads into the high-speed esses, the long back straight into turn 12 (an opportunity to use the draft to pass) and the stadium section leading to the final turn (where the Porsche 911 GT3R really excels in the slow speed turns getting the power down).
See you at the race track!
Get the full column at National Speed Sports News: