Matt Travis and Jason Hart are a dynamic duo on and off the track, they balanced a championship-winning season with off-track banter that gained the attention and delight of race fans.
Travis and Hart secured NOLASPORT’s third Pirelli GT4 America PRO-AM Class championship – and their second together – at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Race Two. The pairing came off a podium appearance in Race One to survive a busy Race Two to beat out James Walker Jr. and Tyler McQuarrie by a single point for the championship. Off the track, Travis’ celebratory speeches and creative retelling of stories entertained the masses, specifically catching the attention of the million viewers on Twitch with Ash Vandelay.
Albeit, Travis admits his speeches weren’t all for fun though he leaned into the appreciation for the humor.
“Absolutely, ma’am, I’d love to sign your baby,” Travis started. “All kidding aside, the initial idea with the ridiculous speeches was attempting to dodge future interviews. I figured if I said something ridiculous, something racing-related but perhaps slightly inappropriate, they probably wouldn’t interview me anymore. A line from Talladega Nights was the first thing that came to mind because it checks all of those boxes. Clearly, that backfired spectacularly, but then it became a bit of a fun game, so we just kept it going. I’m frankly a little surprised I haven’t been fined yet.”
The NOLASPORT team had to develop a sense of humor as the year provided sometimes cruel conditions. The No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport drivers kicked off the 2023 season with a win the remainder of the season would weave a tale of highs and lows based on overall perseverance. They would go on to win Race One at Sebring International Raceway for a total of two wins for the season. Six podium appearances would propel them to their championship win.
“I certainly said a few prayers this season,” Hart said. “After that, you just have so say "that's racing" and trust your process and be sure to execute as best you can compare to yourself and see where that stacks up. I would clear my mind in the downtime with my favorite activities: fishing, fighting and french toast. Not necessarily in the order.”
Travis recalled the same mix of frustration and opportunity.
“This was a strangely inconsistent season for us,” Travis said. “Some of that inconsistency was on us as drivers, some was random mechanicals, some was terrible luck with cautions and some was getting taken out by other competitors. But in the words of our engineer Duncan Burke, “We do what we do,” and in the end, that proved to be enough to grab another championship, which admittedly still doesn’t feel real.”
Challenges are part of any sport and there can be many in the complex world of sports car racing specific to each car and track. The NOLASPORT team experienced it all over the course of the 14-race calendar. The drivers picked out some of their highlight moments as they stood against the adversity.
“The biggest challenge is staying positive through the summer BOP when the other cars can simply drive around the Porsche on the straightaways,” Travis said. “Along those same lines, I feel like the greatest accomplishment might have been getting on the podium at VIR – SRO gives out nine podium spots at each race, so being the only non-BMW out of nine podium finishers felt like a heck of an accomplishment in the summer BOP.”
Hart focused his appreciation on consistency within the team.
“Being back for another year with Matt and NOLASPORT rings high,” Hart said. “Capping it off with a third consecutive PRO-AM Championship after having the adversity Matt mentioned is definitely the greatest accomplishment. The greatest challenge was being taken out of the lead at least four times this season. Those were some seriously hard-to-swallow pills.”
Three championships are nothing to overlook. Three championships won consecutive gives way to a well-oiled machine these two drivers can be proud to hang their hat on as they look ahead to next year.
“I’m scaling back a bit next year in order to spend more at home,” Travis said. “Work has been busy, so I could really use a bit of slack in my schedule next year. However, I’ll do some one-off races. For example, we’re currently looking at taking a small NOLASPORT group to run the GT4 European Series races at Spa. I could also see hopping into a one-off GT4 race here in the States if the schedule allows. So, not a full season for me, but definitely still around, and if you want to win a PRO-AM title, call Jon (Scheurich, NOLASPORT Team Owner) and take my seat”
While Travis pieces an ideal season together, Hart is ready and waiting for any adventure.
“Other than what Matt stated, I have no decisions made at this time,” Hart said. “Being back in the No. 47 for the Pirelli GT4 America series is high on the list, and I am looking forward to more conversations on that, along with some GT3 endurance rounds.”
Watch all of the Pirelli GT4 America action by subscribing to the GT World YouTube page. Teams and drivers return to work at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma County, California, for the opening weekend April 5, 2024.