It’s Going To Be A Busy Year, welcome to my first blog of the 2013 season!
Its been a long (and cold) winter but 2013 is going to be a busy year for me, having been signed for two championships; in British GT to drive alongside Mark Patterson in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra and for JRM to lead the Pro-Am car in the Blancpain Endurance Series.
I’ve been waiting an unusually long time for BGT to get going, Mark called me in August last year to discuss my 2013 plans, and by the start of September he had signed me up! It was a big relief to have a drive sorted so early, it meant I could focus on my fitness over the winter as well as look for a second drive. However, it looked like BGT would be my only series in 2013, until a phone call from JRM changed all that! I had been in touch with JRM for a while but it wasn’t until mid February when they decided to go ahead with the race program, and again (thankfully) it wasn’t a particularly long process before they signed me up.
British GT looks set to have its best ever year in terms of grid numbers, although matching the ‘down to the wire’ fight we had last year will still be a tall order. A full grid beckons for the first round at Oulton Park with some very competitive pairings turning up this year. Pre-season testing went well for us though, Mark slipped seamlessly back into the rhythm of Oulton having not driven there for 3 years and the car seemed quick. It will be an interesting weekend but I think we can compete at the front, we’ve beaten everyone out there before so I’m hoping to continue that habit!
The Blancpain series is also looking as strong as ever, and I’m really looking forward to racing with (for me) a new car and a new team. Again first impressions have been very positive, I’ve been impressed with JRM and the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 has been quick out the box and there’s still a lot of potential left yet. Blancpain is a highly competitive series, there’s no minimum time on pit stops so races can be won both on the track and in the pits, which adds to the pressure of competing at the front, but it’s a challenge both the team and myself are looking forward to! The first round is at Monza in just over two weeks, I just hope it’s a bit warmer and drier than last year!
The final major event in my 2013 calendar (for now at least) will see me racing in an endurance event without the aid of an engine for the first time! My brother Rob called me up asking if I fancied doing the 24 hour cycling race at Silverstone in September. I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I agreed! I’ve already started training for it, having learned from my mistakes when doing the Great North Run last year when I left my training until far too late! Hopefully it will be good fun, and it will definitely get me fit!
You can follow my progress, both in racing and training, on Twitter @mattbellracing or on my Matt Bell Racing Facebook page. Its going to be an interesting couple of weeks!