2017 Mid-Season Review: James Rimmer
STATS (through 6 of 12 rounds): 7th in GRC Lites points (289), best finish 4th
POSITIVES: After acclimating to GRC Lites three races toward the end of last season, Rimmer made the jump into full-time competition this year with DirtFish Motorsports. If 2016 was a learning experience, 2017 has been an exercise in consistency; unlike the six drivers in front of him in points, Rimmer has not finished worse than seventh all season long, persevering through a number of challenges to keep his car on the track.
“We’re getting there,” he explained in New England. “(The first) two races were rough for us. I missed all of qualifying for Memphis and part of practice with some electrical issues. That really took the wind out of our sails in terms of confidence, but I still ended up fifth, which is a really good position for that. I have the confidence that I can come out here and do it, but it’s a lot about luck as well. We’ll just hope for good luck and do the best we can!”
NEGATIVES: Of the 10 drivers who have competed in every GRC Lites race so far this year, Rimmer is the only one yet to win a heat race or finish on the podium. While he’s knocked on the door a few times, his best opportunity went awry in the first Ottawa round when hard racing with teammate Conner Martell ended with Rimmer nearly rolling over after a close call with a tire barrier.
He’s also been dogged by a couple of mechanical issues early on at events. Missing the first round of heats at both Memphis and New England is a lot less catastrophic than missing the finals in both rounds, but the loss of up to seven heat points hurts badly in Lites, where the semifinal grids are set by points scored in only two heat rounds. In short, it basically guarantees a starting spot near the back of the pack when it counts, and that only makes the job harder.
OUTLOOK: At this point, Rimmer is too close to a breakthrough result not to make it happen before season’s end. He spent this weekend driving a WRC car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, so he’s used to the big leagues. It’s more a question of when his luck turns to a point where he’s able to put a full race weekend together without a freak situation hurting his result.
Photo credit: Louis Yio