The following is the first of a weekly Driver Blog written by Guy for the Grand-Am.com website. Check in each Friday for an updated blog!
Hello Grand-Am Readers!
My name is Guy Cosmo, and this is the first of my weekly blogs exclusively for Grand-Am.com. I'd first like mention that as many of you may already know, our fellow friend and competitor Jason Workman is still fighting for his life after a critical accident he had just a few weeks ago - and I hope all of you that are reading will take a few moments to keep Jason in your thoughts and prayers. We all look forward to see his smiling face at the track soon again, and behind the wheel of a car like he loves so much.
Back to blogging, I figured I'd treat this introductory blog as an opportunity to give a little insight as to who I am, where I'm from, and how I came to be a part of Grand-Am racing. So, as Austin Powers would say, "Allow myself to introduce...myself..."
To start, you'll find me throughout the season behind the wheel of the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche/Fabcar Daytona Prototype, more officially known as the Lozano Brothers-prepared Porsche-based V-8/Fabcar. Joining me behind the wheel for the season is Marc-Antoine Camirand, who I grew up racing against in go-karts - but that's a fun story we'll save for later.
About me? Well, it all started when I was 11 years old. I grew up on Long Island, New York (and yes, I'm proud of it!). My father, Guy (the original), had started his own engineering and machinery business and was putting a lot of time and effort into the company. Of course, being home with my sister and I, my mother told my father he needed to find a hobby to spend more time with me. Although she's probably regretted it every day since, my father picked RACING! Oh yeah! What 11-year-old kid wouldn't want to go racing? It was an obvious choice, as my father had raced on an amateur level for a few years when I was young and we always watched raced together on the weekends and worked on the various cars he had in the garage.
I was an extremely shy, scrawny, skinny little guy when I was young, and the first time I drove a go-kart I was terrified of it! Fortunately that didn't last too long (thank God I got over that!!). I quickly took to it like a fish in water - you couldn't get me out of that kart until it ran out of gas. Then, as soon as Dad dumped a few gallons back in, I was off before he could get the gas cap back on! It then morphed into a family affair. Although my mother was terrified of her 'sonny boy' getting hurt, both her and my sister were supportive of my driving. Then my father's two brothers - Uncle Nick and Uncle Tony - as well as my father's shop foreman, Rick, all got just a little involved with us; they all got karts of their own! Well, Uncle Nick was always more of the voice of reason and stayed on the sidelines, but Dad, Uncle Tony, Rick and myself would bang wheels (and sometimes helmets) all day long.
I'm sure you're wondering why I'm going into so much detail about this, and I guess the answer is that those first few years I began driving, working on my karts, interacting with new people at the track and sharing such a close relationship with my family were the truly formative years of my life and turned me into who I am today. Well, that, and everything else that happened in my life since those days of course - but that was the start. Racing for fun with family and friends, traveling on the weekends to new places and seeing the country - it was incredible for me and taught me a lot at a very young age.
To speed the story up, we quickly began racing first locally, then regionally, then nationally, then internationally. We reached the point where I was invited to compete in the World Championships of Karting in 1995 in Valence, France. After seven years of kart racing I had won a wide number of races, a few championships and trekked halfway around the globe to race at the absolute highest level of kart racing on the planet. Where to next? Formula cars!
The process from this point on was fairly common for a lot of kids in my situation. Our families were able to support us through the beginning ranks of the ladder system in this country within our financial means, and then we run out of money and try to find ways to get in race cars without having to pay for it. In my scenario, we had to do this as affordably as possible, so we did everything ourselves.
I was one of very few (young) drivers at the track working on the car, driving the truck and trailer, prepping all my equipment before and after races. My father taught me that if I didn't put the effort in myself, no one else was going to! From there we ventured into Formula Ford in SCCA, then a few years in Formula Continental and the USF2000 Pro Series, where we won championships each year for our respective classes.
I then stumbled across a Scandinavian Formula 2000 series and managed live in Denmark for a year competing overseas (where I first met Jason Workman, and he and I shared an apartment in Denmark that year), where I finished second in the championship. Then came back to the U.S. for a limited (and stretched attempt) in the Toyota Atlantic series, but simply couldn't afford to run more than a handful of races. Without huge financial backing we decided to step down from Atlantic to the Star Mazda Championship - which turned out to be a great opportunity for me. I won a number of races and went on to win the championship that year, in 2002.
What did all of this mean? Well, unfortunately, in racing, absolutely nothing. All those years racing and finding success in open-wheel development series and after winning championships, there was absolutely no opportunity for me to advance in open-wheel racing without huge financial backing. So, on New Years Day 2003, I packed my bags, filled my car and headed to Daytona. I was going to walk through the Grand-Am paddock at the January Test Days and find me a ride for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and pursue Sports Car racing as the next step of my career.
"Daytona, Grand-Am - here I come!"
To be continued...