Interview by David Haueter
RJ Valentine has been a driver in pro sportscar racing since 1978, when he made his debut in the IMSA GTO series. Since then, he has racked up over 340 starts driving in various series and with various cars, from Trans Am, where he spent six seasons, to prototypes in world sportscar and Grand Am. When he's not racing, RJ keeps busy with his business, The MBA Group, as well as running his F1 Boston karting center, which is arguably the finest karting facility in North America. RJ will be back with The Racers Group for the 2006 season, driving a Pontiac GTO.R in the Rolex GT championship after spending the 2005 season driving a BMW M3 for Team PTG. We caught up with RJ to get his opinion on the car and how the Pontiac GTO.R compares to the BMW M3.
TheRaceSite: How did the Pontiac deal come about for 2006?
Valentine: I was with The Racer's Group in 2004, but then left the team to drive for Team PTG for the 2005 season. Driving for BMW is a very prestigious thing and I'd always liked Tom (Milner) and wanted to drive for him. I like the whole BMW group of people and I had a hell of a year - I enjoyed myself and got to drive some heavy equipment. It was good.
TheRaceSite: Were you talking to The Racer's Group about a drive in 2006 before the 2005 season ended?
Valentine: Kevin (Buckler) has been after me all year - he wanted me back from before (2004), when we had a great season. His philosophy is that you have to drive the car to get good in it. In our test in the car at Sonoma, my arms were falling off; he had me in the car for so much time. I got better and better in my lap times, then Andy (Lally) got a hold of me and we spent an hour in the morning the next day driving around the track and finding the line, and I dropped another two seconds off my times. Then we went to Homestead and I was really quick.