ec: AJR won the drivers title and the makes win for Porsche. Your lead driver, Cort Wagner, captured the Porsche Cup, yet Porsche dropped you the next season for another team. In 2001 the factory came back and AJR went on a tear for the first half of the decade. With the assistance comes the added responsibility of advisors, whether merited or not. Is it worth giving up the independence? How do you look back at those days ?
AJ: Porsche did give me the first shot on the 2000 werks program, but I didn't have the financial resources. So Porsche gave the program to someone else, and although they won the championship, there were problems. The program came back to me in 2001 with a different level of support. We had a two-car werks program from 2001 through 2004 and a one-car program in 2005. During this time AJR won three team and driver championships. You definitely give up a level of independence. You follow the factory guidelines, which can be difficult at times. To get started, I had to turn over my engine building to Porsche. We had developed a very successful engine program, but in the end I felt it was worth doing in order to start the factory partnership. The wins and championships made it the right decision. To compete at that level it's important to have a werks program. That still holds true today in GT2 (GT). But when you can win on your own without werks support, as we've done in the past, it's especially sweet. If the financial support is there it's possible to go head to head with the factory programs. But it is very expensive.

ec: In addition to the ALMS GT class, AJR also entered the Daytona Prototype class in Grand Am for 2006. You seemed to have followed a Hollywood script, almost pulled off an overall for the Daytona 24, had no sponsorship, almost folded, and then Ruby Tuesday came to your door. This resulted in several dramatic wins and a promise of things to come. Running two separate series requires a logistical undertaking.
AJ: That's an understatement. Running both Grand Am in DP and ALMS in GT2 during the 2006 season was a handful. We still had some success with a 50th win at Houston with the GT2 car and four wins with the DP car. After such a strong start with the DP, the Grand Am Series felt it necessary to penalize the Porsche-powered cars. AJR was the only Porsche-engine DP that was winning, but they still did it. The rule change took us back to a top-three or top-five team.

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!