After the mayhem of January, the past few weeks have given me a chance to relax and enjoy life as a Father of two gorgeous little girls. It’s been a busy fortnight, but in a different way to trekking across the world in search of victories on track.
For those of you who read my first column a few weeks ago, there is positive news on the home front. The house is finished and we’ve moved in. It’s been a feat of endurance unlike any race I’ve ever driven and it is at this point that I take a backseat and allow my wife Jess to go into decoration-mode, while keeping an eye on the mounting credit card bill. Wish me luck with that.
Mellow about the Yellow
A few weeks ago there was the launch of the World Endurance Championship in Paris and while I didn’t sit and watch the Internet broadcast, I spent time catching up on the news online and seeing who is where. It’s an exciting time as a driver because you hope that some of the guys you enjoy racing against will be in your series or class.
Unfortunately, for reasons outside of my control, I won’t get to race one of the yellow Corvette Racing C7.Rs at Le Mans this year. It’s the first time in four years that I won’t be there with the guys and I won’t lie, it is painful but you have to take these things on the chin.
I’ve had a month or so to reflect on it now and I’m having conversations about another seat at Le Mans. If something comes off that would be great, because there really is no other race quite like it. I wish Jordan, Olly and Tommy the best of luck, and hope they and the #63 car have a good clean race.
On the flipside, I’m happy to see a good friend and top British driver Nick Tandy get a plum seat with Porsche in its LMP1 programme. When prototype teams are finalising their line-ups they often overlook good GT drivers because they are ‘only good at driving GT cars’. It’s completely incorrect, and it’s good that Porsche has taken on Nick and Earl Bamber this year, to join Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb as a foursome of ex-Carrera Cup guys for the LMP1 programme. It’s easy to tag drivers as just one or the other, but if you’re adaptable and quick you’re going to be good in both.
The ‘Cup’ overfloweth
It’s also pleasing to see that the Carrera Cup in the UK has a decent field and some exciting talent on its grid again following the launch of a Rookie Class. One of the best things I ever did was to get involved in the Carrera Cup GB and Supercup. I was able to win something heavily backed by a manufacturer and that manufacturer took me into sportscar racing.
My situation was absolutely perfect and other manufacturers are doing similar things now, Audi has launched its own series with the TT Cup and Aston Martin has various links to GT3 and GT4 classes. It’s really important that you do something where a manufacturer gets behind you; they are the best people to work for if you want a long career.
The Carrera Cup did so much for my career and I’ll always be eternally grateful because that really was a springboard for me. There are so many teams that run Porsches all around the world, proving yourself in that or the Supercup means you’re going to find yourself very good work.
Circling in on Sebring
Next up for me is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida, another tough race. I love that we have got arguably two of the most iconic American sportscar races at the start of the year, it really is great to have them on the same bill and makes for one hell of a challenging season start.
The team has got a chance to re-group now, make some changes and get back on it at Sebring. We’ve got a two-day test coming up between now and Sebring and we will hopefully sort out some of the issues that handicapped us in Daytona. I think we have it in us to take the win if the car is right, but I’d just as happily take another podium at this stage of the season.