The No. 38 Dash Neighborhoods/Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge car has crossed the finish line fourth in the previous two TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events. The team now is focused on a podium position this weekend, with French's experience at Road America and David Ostella's racing know-how combining to create a fast setup.
French, a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, has been to Road America more times than he can count in multiple types of cars, including Prototype Challenge machinery. The vast experience of the driver, mixed with a home crowd, is sure to bring out the best in French.
"This whole program with Performance Tech centered around Road America," French said. "Being my home race, in front of friends and family has been important. David and I clicked right away, and I know neither of us will be happy unless we're standing on the podium at the end of the race! I can't thank Performance Tech enough for the opportunity. They are a great team, and I really enjoy the family atmosphere they create, which fits me perfectly."
Ostella's last trip to 4-mile, 14-turn road course was in 2010 in the Pro Mazda Championship, and he welcomes any new information French can pass on. Ostella, from Toronto, plans to continue molding his racing style at Road America, trying to find more speed earlier in all stints on the iconic track filled with fast corners and long straightaways.
"Road America, being so long makes it a tough track," Ostella said. "I would say most of the corners lead into a long straightaway; that's where you'll pick up a lot of speed. For qualifying here, I'll need to learn to find that speed quickly. In the past, my hot laps come at the end. With the length of this track, as phenomenal as the Continental Tires are, they'll come up fast with the heat, so getting up to speed quickly is important."
With his drivers clicking and finally seeing steady results, Team Principal Brent O'Neill can focus more on finding the podium.
"James (French) will be right up to speed at Road America," O'Neill said. "He might be able to help us a lot with setup. I don't worry about David (Ostella). He's like a freight train; he keeps getting faster and faster every session. He does a great job racing and makes no mistakes. Daytona was pretty big for us as a team. I'd like to make it back to the top step this year."
Performance Tech will take to the track at 4:40 p.m. (CT) Friday, Aug. 8 for the first practice session. Qualifying will take place at 5:05 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, with live streaming on IMSA.com. The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, a two-hour and 45-minute race, begins at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10. Live timing will be available at imsa.com, and the race will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 10 on FOX Sports 1.