A lap of Mid-Ohio on Continental Tires with Brian Till

Brian Till – Lap of Mid-Ohio on Continental Tires

With experience racing in everything from the Indianapolis 500 to the Rolex 24 at Daytona, SPEED Analyst Brian Till is no mere talking head. Calling the SPEED Channel coverage of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge as well as the Rolex Sports Car Series, Till brings his experience to bear week in and week out.

And when it comes to Mid-Ohio, there is likely no better person to talk about the track. Why? Because as the Head Instructor for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car School, Till has trained thousands of drivers on how to make the most of every corner on the 2.258-mile circuit.

Even though his duties for SPEED see him on site at tracks across the country nearly every weekend, it has been a little while since the racer-turned-instructor and broadcaster actually donned a helmet and took to the track in anger.

But thanks to Continental Tire, that is exactly what he did as he strapped in to the Continental Tire Daytona Prototype at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The car was the same Dallara-Ford combination that was raced by NASCAR Drivers AJ Allmendinger and Michael McDowell as well as IndyCar star Justin Wilson in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Till first got a feel for what to expect when he was strapped in as a passenger, with Burt Frisselle wheeling him around for a few fast laps. Then, it was Till’s turn to run as he took to the track to get his first ever laps behind the wheel of a Continental Tire-shod Daytona Prototype on a track that he knows well. After he pulled off the helmet, Till sat down to talk us through a lap of the track on Continental Tires, as well as how his experience gives him a whole new point of view–that of the drivers.

“Coming out of the carousel, you have the pits to your left, and you move up from second up to fourth gear before dropping down to third. And you head to Turn 1 which is the highest speed corner on the race track but in a Daytona Prototype in these Continental Tires the turn in is great and I was amazed with how quickly you can pick the throttle back up well before the apex and drive the car aggressively off towards the track and then up to the key hole.

“It’s up to fourth gear through there and the longitudinal G’s in this car and the braking G’s are pretty phenomenal, especially for the lack of downforce the Daytona Prototype inherently has. You can go almost to the 2 marker under braking into the Keyhole which is pretty darn late.

“Today, it was kind of cloudy we had a little moisture on the racetrack and the car was set up pretty neutral. The elevation change really affected the car but once again, the drive off the longitudinal G’s, the drive off the corner is pretty spectacular stuff. The car really put the power down well.

“Out of the Keyhole, you are flat out all the way down the back straightaway – all the way up to fifth and then pretty late braking at the end of the back straightaway.

“Burt Frisselle was sitting beside me and he was actually on the brakes on the passenger side long before I was! So, I figured that maybe I needed to get on the brakes which I did and Burt goes down to second gear there. I was going down to third and I guess I just didn’t trust that I’d get the car fully slowed down in time but once again the ability of the car to decelerate was impressive.

“Down to third and then I went down to second gear for Turn 8 – the left hander up and over the crest of the hill. What a ball to drive. The car is so predictable up and over the elevation change. One lap we had the rear end kind of hanging out and left some nice long black marks from the Continental Tires down the hill and the car never felt on edge at all.  It was just a ball to drive. Then to Turn 9 down at the end of the hill – 10A and 10B all real predicable stuff up to third gear before you get over to Turn 11 and then back down to second gear for 11 over the top and then through Thunder Valley.

“Up to fourth gear to Turn 13 which is the second fastest corner on the race track and once again the high speed stability of the car and the Continental Tires was very impressive to me. Down to third gear through Turn 13 which takes you back into the carousel – one of the slowest corners on the racetrack which is where we started the lap. Down to second gear through there then a little short shift up to third onto the front straightaway. Back up to fourth and that’s a lap around Mid-Ohio in a Daytona Prototype. With the Continental Tires I was very, very impressed.”

When Till pulled into the pits and out of the car, it was hard to tell who was more excited–Till to drive, or Frisselle to emerge unscathed!

“I want to go again. I’m not getting out!” said Till. “That was absolutely fantastic, that was awesome. I can’t believe it. I mean now I see what makes it so good and what makes the racing so good. I had a smile on my face the whole time. It’s addicting. This DP does everything you want it to do. The sequential box is so smooth. This was just an awesome experience. Thanks to Continental and Mike Shank.

“I’ve decided that Daytona Prototypes are easy to drive especially with Continental Tires and there’s really no excuse for them to screw up! But in all seriousness, I think one of the things that I understand now in just the few laps that I did is that these cars and the tires are designed to be very raceable. The acceleration rate is good for both a professional driver and a Pro-Am driver. The tires seem to be very predictable which is necessary once again for a professional or for a Pro-Am driver all of which makes the car very raceable. The ability to race it side by side and out brake somebody – it exists and that’s one of the things that’s great about this formula.”

The EMCO Gears Classic will be broadcast live on SPEED on September 17, starting at 3:00 PM ET. Get tickets now by visiting http://www.mid-ohio.com.

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