Curt Swearingin competes in the Pirelli GT4 series along with running the ACI Motorsports team. The team from Chattanooga, Tennessee, heads south to Sebring International Raceway for the penultimate event of the 2023 season.
The team typically runs in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series with Florida resident Pedro Torres and pro-Spencer Pumpelly. Injury has sidelined the duo for Torres’ home race, but ACI pushes forward to the challenge that lies ahead at Sebring. Thanks to the many series it competes in, the drivers and team have plenty of data to prepare them.
“We run Sebring every year,” Swearingin said. “We run endurance races and other sprint races there. I don’t think there is a secret to success at Sebring, though. You have to know what the car and driver like to find out what makes it fastest. I like the challenges Sebring presents. Every time you go, it's different. The bumps are a major part of it. It is hard to get the car to be compliant over those. It’s just a tough track to be fast at even with as flat as it is.”
Not only do three sprint races present three separate opportunities for teams, but it presents more work to be done. The environment between a NOLA Motorsports Park race in the spring and Sebring at summer's end brings very different conditions. With only two calendar events remaining in the season, teams are also in a different position entering the weekend.
“I don’t mind three races at Sebring,” Swearingin said. “I would have preferred to have Race Two happen at NOLA. We were fast there. We know it’s going to be hot at Sebring and the Porsche doesn’t like the heat. The environment is going to bring its own challenges. It doesn’t bother me as a driver. I worry the car doesn’t have the pace.”
ACI has entries in each class of the Pirelli GT4 America field. While the series allows for drivers to race amongst peers by division to the Silver, PRO-AM and AM classes, the team doesn’t feel the difference between the competition.
‘I don’t think there is a big difference in how we approach competition in each class,” Swearingin said. “Each class is highly competitive in its own right. The classes intermingle when you have professionals lined up against the Silver drivers and amateurs against the AM Class. All three are very competitive. I don’t see a huge difference in consistency.”
Looking ahead includes accumulating lessons learned from 2023.
“We’re still learning every day,” Swearingin said. “We’ve had some mistakes that have cost us. We’re not in the podium position for the end of the year. But we hope we can come back and perfect what we lacked this year. The flow has been tricky as we’re learning. Planning logistics across multiple series has been the more challenging part as a team.
“In 2024, I think we’d like to do another season and stay in the series we run now. We hope to get another year with SRO and be more competitive. Of course, we want to make less mistakes. We don’t want to quit now, we have too much invested. We plan to build on the confidence we developed this season.”
Sebring International Raceway is set with three rounds of racing for the Pirelli GT4 America series Sept. 22-24. Tickets are available for purchase online. To follow the race from home, join the over half a million users on the GT World YouTube page by subscribing. Find your spot in the community by following SROMotorsposrts on Twitch, where Ash Vandelay hosts a conversation while streaming each race.