"This is who we are, what we do."
-John Rambo, Rambo
To the best of my knowledge, Rambo was never paid to drive a racecar. But his line best exemplifies what it takes and what it means. Our last edition of Sport covered Alex Job Racing as the team campaigns three Porsche GT3 Cup cars in the GTC class of the American Le Mans Series. AJR's cars don't race themselves, and mixed in with the up-and-coming drivers, a quality team always employs professionals. The following two pros have the experience, the temperament, and most importantly, the hardware and accolades that inspire.
Butch Leitzinger: Strength in numbers
How many people can claim to live on a working farm in Pennsylvania built in the mid-1800s, attend Penn State before deciding on a full-time career as a racing driver, and along the way take the time to win the Daytona 24 overall three times? Butch Leitzinger has an impressive resumé, and more importantly, he has built it up over time as a professional. Not an easy task as those who have tried will attest, and that makes what he has to say worth paying attention to.
ec: You are that rare breed, an American who has successfully made a living driving mostly sports cars.
BL: It's not the easiest way to make a living, or the most straightforward. For whatever reason, sports car racing seems to be the most volatile form of auto racing. So many teams come in with huge expectations, only to disappear before the middle of the season. Add to that the instability with the sanctioning bodies in the '90s, where you didn't know year to year if there would even be a series. It makes it very difficult for a driver to settle in with a team. I was very fortunate to land with Dyson, which is by far the most stable and enduring team in sports car racing. There was still always the pressure to perform, but I didn't have to worry whether the team would be shutting its doors before the next race, or if the checks would clear. That can distract you from your primary job at the racetrack and hamper your performance. If sports car racing was able to do a better job of cultivating privateer teams and form a stronger core entry that fans could expect year to year, it would do wonders for attendance and provide for a better job market for drivers.
ec: Most drivers tend to look for a comfort zone and hone their skills to the particular class; you have been all over the scale, GT and prototype, and had success with all, even NASCAR. What's the mindset of being able to adapt from one car and one class to another?