ALMS' David Calvert-Jones Gives Mid-Life Crisis A New Meaning
CJ, as David Calvert-Jones prefers to be addressed, took his first laps around the famed street course at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in preparation for the debut at his adopted "home" track for the second race of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season.
"It’s a home race," exclaimed CJ after a couple of test runs during open track sessions at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Media Day, April 9th. "At least Long Beach is the closest we get to Australia! But I’m really thrilled to race at Long Beach for the first time. It’s a challenging circuit – absolutely no margin for error. Not even a millimeter."
The Competition Motorsports 911 GT3 used by CJ to take his first laps around the 1.97 mile, 11 turn temporary street course during the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race media day. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)
Most race car drivers begin with a vision of being one of this rare breed of dreamers and technicians when they get behind the steering wheel of a tractor, then a car on a dirt farm road, and eventually by the ripe old age of 8 or 9, find themselves competing with others with go-kart platforms used to develop the skills necessary to eventually race cars at the highest of professionally sanctioned levels.
Not so with CJ - his life took a decidedly different path. Growing up around Melbourne, Australia beginning August 12, 1969, CJ became a pilot because around the land down under, the territory is so large (as with the United States' Alaska), if one wishes to get around and be useful to others, one needs to fly. Along the way CJ developed the talent and business acumen to manage large scale flying service operations and international investments.
In 2004, CJ decided to relocate to Los Angeles where he flew helicopters outfitted as camera platforms and was able to deliver memorable action images used in films with recognizable titles of “Transformers,” “Secretariat,” “Domino,” “Horrible Bosses,” and “We Are Marshall” among many others. He became CEO of of Helinet Aviation Services, a best-in-class provider of helicopter flight services to a broad range of markets, including film, executive transportation, hospital patient transport, etc.. CJ was responsible for the successful management of Helinet's aerial coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the only commercial operator cleared by the FAA to fly in the restricted airspace above the hurricane's affected areas and as a result, Helinet's aerial video footage was shown on all the networks in the United States and across the world.
CJ is currently the owner and president of Helifilms, an aerial production company with offices in the United States, Australia, England and South Africa.
This would be good enough for most folks but CJ's core passion is to be able to push the limits of man and his machines. He found his way to placing his physical command sensibilities to automobiles on a bit of a lark when a friend of his asked him to attend a Vintage Auto Racing Association event at Auto Club Speedway. While there, he was invited to drive a racing prepared BMW and was bitten to become focused driving automobile platforms at the greatest of speeds and limits.
Last year, he decided to devote his driving attention to the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama and came away with one class race victory and achieved the runner-up position (P2) in the season points championship. He was invited to try his hand at the final American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race of 2012 at the Petite Le Mans in Atlanta in a GTC Class Porsche and liked the experience.
CJ now finds himself at the age of 43 in the troughs of a mid-life crisis of opportunity ... the opportunity to challenge man and his machines at the highest levels in American sports car racing. CJ expects that the crisis he will be delivering (not having) at mid-life is at least a podium finish against a field filled with drivers 75% his age, or less, who began driving four wheeled automotive platforms before the age that CJ took to the skies in Australia.
Look for David Calvert-Jones ... CJ ... as he joins another Australian race car driver, IZOD IndyCar Series Will Power - who began being a race car driver by racing karts, racing the concrete lined streets at the 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 19-21, 2013. You'll find CJ driving the second race of his rookie season in the ALMS GTC Class driving the No. 99 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 for two hours on Saturday, April 20.
... notes from The EDJE