I am guilty of letting things linger… like my newsletter. But I’m back and I’m back with a lot of updates!
Since my last communication I have been racing or coaching every single weekend and it’s been a rollercoaster ride in terms of results.
In the Blancpain Endurance Series we have missed out on several podium opportunities. In Silverstone we raced from last (48th) on the grid to fourth
, just missing out on a podium by less than 5 seconds. Then at the Paul Ricard 6 Hour we were leading our class and 2nd overall… but messed up a pitstop in the final hours and dropped to 4th in class.
How did we mess up? At the end of the 4th hour, in the dark, my co-driver came in for his final pit stop but completely missed our pit box and drove right past us because a team two boxes down had the same green lights as us. He got confused and parked in their box. I was standing in the pitlane ready to jump in the car when it drove right past me. We couldn’t believe it. I was shell shocked.
That moment in Paul Ricard was undoubtedly one of the most difficult sporting moments of my career. We had a major win in our hands and threw it away with a silly mistake. It was a lot to digest but there was also a lot to learn. We have made some big changes to our pit stop procedure since then to avoid the same mistake happening again in the future.
Luckily in the Blancpain GT World Challenge (Sprint Series) we’ve had considerably more success, but not without a fair dose of bad luck too. We’ve won two races and finished on the podium 4 out of 6 times. However it probably ‘should’ have been more as we’ve lead every race so far, but a combination of driver error and bad timing has meant we’ve missed out on a few more wins as well.
We are still lying second in the Championship with four races to go and have a very good chance of coming out on top if we cut out the mistakes. Easier said than done but not impossible.
This is the nature of racing, you can have the best car, best drivers and best crew, but then you get a puncture while in the lead of the last lap. You have to take the good with the bad, roll with the punches so to speak.
My aim for the second half of the season is to cut out mistakes on my end and improve my qualifying performance. In Zandvoort I got a glimpse of the potential this approach has and we managed to cross the line in first place in Sunday’s race, trouble free. It felt good and was a perfect way to head into the big one…
Spa 24 Hours
This weekend is the biggest race in the GT calendar and I am epically proud and excited to be competing in it for a fourth time in a row.
I’ll be sharing the #333 with my regular team mates, Rinat Salikhov and Denis Bulatov in the Silver Cup Class and our aim is clear… avoid fourth place!
As this is a 24 Hour race we are allowed to have a fourth co-driver and we’ve selected a super talented Dutchman, Indy Dontje, to share the car with us. He subbed for me in the Nurburgring 24 (that’s a whole newsletter on it’s own) and did a great job. So I am excited to have him in the car with us.
In 2017 I won the Spa 24 in the AM class and in 2018 I won it in the Pro-Am class. No one has ever won it three times in a row and no one has ever won it in three different classes… I’m not saying anything. Let’s just try to survive the first lap.
After Spa I don’t get much of a rest as I will head to the Nurburgring for round 5 of the VLN championship when I try to get my A-Permit once and for all. It’s been a huge saga trying to get it, including being sat in a German court with an English translator. As I said… it deserves it’s own newsletter.
From there we have 2 more Blancpain GT World Challenge events to complete and the final round of the Endurance Series in Barcelona. In between all of that will be a bunch of other racing, but I’ll update you on that when necessary.