Kevin Gleason is keen to break his race wins duck in the fifth round of the 2015 TCR International Series, but will be satisfied with two strong finishes at Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed, Autodromo Nazionale Monza (23-24 May).
Gleason, from Pennsylvania, returned to the TCR International podium in the fourth round of the season at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near the Portuguese coastal resort of Portimão, but will once again venture out into unfamiliar territory when the championship arrives at Italy’s Monza circuit.
Situated near one of the world’s fashion Capitals, Milan, the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix venue is hallowed ground for racing drivers and motorsport fans alike, consecrated as Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed’.
This high-speed track stretches for 5.79km through the Royal Villa of Monza Park and much of the original layout from 1922 is still in use, except the long straights are now separated by the tight Variante della Roggia, Retifilio and Ascari chicanes.
With very limited experience of the track, Gleason is moderating his expectations for the Italian leg of the TCR International Series – the world’s newest touring car platform – and, while he’s keen to break his race wins duck, the American is simply targeting two strong finishes to consolidate his championship position.
“I shook down the car at Monza over 15 laps, but racing there is going to be special and it’s something to tick off the bucket list,” said Gleason. “The track has so much history with F1 and Ferrari, and I think touring cars will be fun to race on the long straights. I’m expecting there to be a lot of drafting and this will be particularly important for setting a good lap time in qualifying, with a lot of hard racing and position changes in the races.
“It’s difficult to coordinate slipstreaming with your teammates in qualifying so I just have to try to be in the right place at the right time to ensure I can pitch a draft from one of the quicker cars. The core aim every weekend is to win and I’m certainly searching for the illusive first victory, having achieved second and third-place results this season. However, I just want two strong finishes in both races at Monza – I’ll be satisfied if I’ve done the best I can.”