Fernando Pena: From the Operating Table to the Racetrack
Braselton, GA, (Oct. 8, 2012) -- High-pressure situations aren’t for everyone, but IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama veteran driver Fernando Pena excels and thrives under pressure.
When he’s not weaving his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to the front of crowded racetracks, the stakes are even higher for Pena. Away from the track, he is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle pathology.
“The majority of my practice is made up of sports-related cases that involve reconstructive surgery and limb preservation,” Pena said.
The split-second decisions Pena makes on track carry over directly from the operating table.
“Surgery and driving are extremely similar,” he said. “You need to think quickly in stressful situations in both activities. The clock is always ticking and you can’t stop until the job is done.”
Pena grew to love motorsports as a child growing up in Madrid, Spain. He watched the sport on TV and went to the local track as often as possible.
“Once I had the necessary resources, I decided to go Club racing with the Porsche Club of America,” he said. “After a few years I was curious to know how I would compare to others driving competitively.”
From there Pena began competing in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series. This season he drives for the Wright Motorsports team.
“The most amazing part of this year has been the supreme domination by the Wright Motorsports team as well as the tremendous level of performance seen across the series,” Pena said. “When you compare our times to the ones laid down by the drivers in other series, we are very close.”
Pena currently sits third in the Platinum Cup championship point standings with one race weekend remaining at the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
Pena had been second in points until he suffered a mechanical failure in the first race of GT3 Cup Challenge competition at Virginia International Raceway.
“It boils down to the ability of the team to understand the driver’s needs and the ability of the driver to deliver an impeccable performance,” Pena said. “Like my crew chief keeps telling me, the stars have to be aligned many times in order to get a win in this series.”
Fernando Pena and Wright Motorsports return to the track October 17-20 for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.