What Does It Take To Be A Porsche Spec Racing Champion?
Just talk to Alexander Bermudez—or any of his competitors, support crew, driving coach, friends or family. Actually, let me save you the trouble of tracking them down, because I’m as qualified as anyone to tell you: after all, I’m the one that tolerated the Taylor Swift music late at night in the motorhome.
The bubbly sprayed on December 6, 2015 at Willow Springs International Raceway after my friend and teammate Alexander Bermudez exited his #909 HRG-prepped Porsche Boxster (Sponsored by House Automotive and Racers Edge Indoor Karting) as the 2015 Porsche Owners Club Boxster Spec Racing Champion. What a year it was, indeed!
I met Alex in 2013. He was already a licensed cup racer when I was making my way through the POC’s racer clinic to earn my license. I was having a tough weekend. I was struggling on-track with technical skills, and struggling off-track with self-confidence. I knew Alex at the time, but not well. He pulled me aside and had a long talk with me, and told me about his own experiences. As a direct result of our talk, the next day was better.
That was a selfless and compassionate thing to do for someone that, really, he barely knew and that would likely be a future competitor. I have a friend that says his “ego is not his amigo”. Somewhere along the way, Alex learned this lesson. I’m guessing his concern for others comes from his mom, with whom now I’m a friend, along with his wife and daughter. I’m a better racer and teammate for knowing him.
Willingness and dedication goes far with just about anything. In racing, however, it’s just about mandatory—at least if you want to win a championship. Alex takes willingness and dedication to the “super-size-me!” level. When he isn’t racing with POC, reading Petrolicious, or blowing up my phone via Instagram, you will most likely find him at one of several Southern California karting tracks.
Once, I asked Alex which day he was going to Cal Speedway for a karting session and he simply said, “yes”. His commitment to the craft extends to, among other race-related activities, studying data and video, working with his coach, instructing, talking with competitors, contributing as an active club member, and watching pro races on television.
A racing season runs the gamut of emotions. Heck, it runs the gamut between turns one andthree! Needless to say, winning a championship takes tremendous self-discipline and perseverance to come through the peaks and valleys without getting stuck. Peaks and valleys are inevitable, and I saw it over and over during the season. I saw peaks like Alex’s first ever hat trick in Nevada, when he took first place in all three races, and again when he dominated at Chuckwalla, which is not his favorite track.
I saw the valleys, when he struggled with suspension at Willow Springs, resulting in contact and a grueling spin at the exit of turn nine.
Even if a racer possesses all of these personal traits—and more—there’s no guarantee of a championship. But without these, it’s much tougher. A reliance on good luck becomes essential (a dubious proposition at best), and it might feel less deserved. After all, skill is imperative, but it is useless without willingness, fortitude, and focused execution. I might have the skill of Lewis Hamilton, but sitting in my car in the garage won’t get me a championship.