The old phrase of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” can be used a lot in motorsports, but Corey Fergus brings it to a different level.
For Fergus, the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car champion, it isn’t just a case of racing Porsches. He also has to sell them, through his job at Byers Imports in Columbus, OH.
Following his championship-winning success at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Motorsports Promotions driver chatted with The Checkered Flag about his season, the future, and his ‘other’ job.
“This is my first professional championship and it will always be my first, so it is pretty meaningful,” he said. “This year my dad was my team owner. He’s won 14 championships as a driver, but this is his first professional championship as a team owner. It was a double championship for our family which made it even more special.
Fergus battled against Ernie Francis Jr. for the championship, and ultimately won by 33 points, claiming three wins in the process.
“We wouldn’t have campaigned our own effort if we didn’t believe we were going to win the championship,” he continued. “That was my goal the whole season and we accomplished it. It wasn’t easy at all, but we did it. The current Balance of Performance in the TC class made it nearly impossible for us in the Porsche Cayman but by being consistent and finishing all but one race, we were able to rack up enough points to win.
However, where Corey differs from many of his competitors is his weekday job, as a salesman at Byers Imports, a luxury car dealership in Columbus, Ohio.
“I’ve been working at Byers Imports for 2 years now. I love my job. I get to race what I sell. It doesn’t get much better than that. The dealership and the General Manager Kevin King let me have time off to race. That’s my biggest sponsorship of all. Ha! They have also helped us with parts for the race car as well. They’re very supportive of my racing.
“Racing Porsches 100% helps me sell Porsches. Not only do I know the cars inside and out, but I know how they will handle on track versus the street. That is very valuable information to a lot of our customers who take advantage of Porsche club or various track days. When any of the customers have performance questions on a Porsche, they know who to come to.
Before moving to the Pirelli World Challenge, Corey spent three years in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, a support series to the Tudor United SportsCar Championship that features a ‘mini endurance race’ style and two-driver teams that take part in races of 2 hours, 30 minutes in length.
He started his CTSC career with RSR Motorsports in 2012, driving a Mini Cooper before switching to a Honda Civic in which he remained for the following season. His third and final CTSC season began in a BMW 328i with BimmerWorld, and ended in Rebel Rock’s Porsche Cayman.
“I spent 3 years in CTSC. It was a fun three years but I didn’t feel like I was in a position to get noticed at such an important time in my early career. The two driver endurance racing format makes it very easy for a driver to fall out of the spotlight,” he explained.
“There’s a lot of luck and strategy involved that very often keeps the top team and drivers from winning. We moved to PWC to be able to control more of the variables. It’s a single driver format with sprint races. Also, the TV package this year was very attractive being on CBS Sports. Now the spotlight would be back on me, because if I win, that’s 100% on me and the team, not another driver. I’m very glad we made the switch. I like things about both series. They both have positives and negatives, and I would be happy to race in either with the right opportunity.”
After winning the TC title in Pirelli World Challenge, there are of course many routes for a driver to go down. These range from continuing to work up the PWC ladder, perhaps tackling GTS or GT Cup next, or hopping over to a different series.
“I’ll be racing in something next year. The question is what,” Corey assured TCF.
“We haven’t decided on plans for 2016 yet. I have a few routes I could go. I have a Plan A for sure, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
“GT Cup is definitely something I’ve considered. It’s a great class with close racing in a spec series, which is very attractive because the Balance of Performance isn’t an issue. I would just need to come up with some more sponsorship to make that happen.”
What about if he wanted to move back to IMSA competition, and to the GT Daytona class in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship?
“If someone offered for me to be apart of a GTD Porsche team, I would jump on that in a heartbeat. It does help that I’m classified as an FIA Silver driver. Good Silver drivers are usually in demand, so hopefully someone uses it to their advantage and wants me to drive with them. I’d be a perfect 4th or 5th guy for an endurance race!”
“I would really like to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans. My dad and I have always talked about racing at Le Mans together. That’s still my dream.”
As mentioned earlier, Corey’s dad was also a very successful racer, and this year took on the role as team owner.
“When your dad has 14 championships it’s hard not to want to top that. My dad certainly doesn’t put too much pressure on me. If anyone puts too much pressure on me, it’s myself. I want to win, plain and simple – in racing and in life. I know there are a lot of variables in racing and it takes a lot of things going your way to win so it’s really nice when you do win a championship. You never know when or if you’ll win one again.”
It isn’t just racing that Corey and his dad do together, though. “I am an avid fisherman,” he explains. “That’s another thing my dad and I do together and have been doing since I was 2. In fact while out in California for Laguna Seca, we went Shark fishing in the San Francisco Bay. We hardly ever pass up an opportunity to fish…or race.”