Fantastic Le Mans!
We have just returned from Le Mans – what an amazing experience!
There were 62 cars in the Porsche Carrera Cup field, a combination of Porsche Carrera Cup France and Great Britain plus invitational entries from all over the world.
We had our first laps of the legendary circuit at 8.30pm on Wednesday for our only practice session. I loved driving the circuit for the very first time. All my efforts were focused on learning my braking points and finding visual references around the 13km track. The sun was going down behind the famous Ferris Wheel and it was a magical experience.
I was 14th overall in the practice session and we had a fair idea where we could make up time for qualifying the next day.
The qualifying session was on Thursday at 5.30pm in very hot conditions. I struggled with the handling of the car and I didn’t manage the traffic very well as no matter what I did I couldn’t get a clear run. I was really disappointed to be starting P18 on the grid.
On Friday, it’s a day off and my sister and I had a great time in the evening driving round the public roads which become part of the track for the racing and soaking up the atmosphere. The crowds were unbelievable, there were tents everywhere, and everyone was partying – it was crazy!
When I returned to the track at 6.30am the next morning it was really quiet and there were bodies lying on the sides of the road sleeping off the night before. There must have been some sore heads.
The 45 minute race started at 11.15. We’d made quite a few changes to the car, so I hoped that we’d made the right decisions. It was really hot again and we had to wait ages on the pre-grid getting hotter and hotter. We went straight out to the formation lap and on to the rolling start.
The race was shown live on Motors TV and I think there are a few re-runs being shown in the next week in case you didn’t see it. It was a really exciting race and the sight and sound of 62 Cup cars at Le Mans must have been awesome to watch.
The car was fantastic thanks to Redline Racing especially my mechanic Alan for all his hard work. I kept out of trouble at the start and had a great race from 18th with some really exciting battles making my way through to finish 7th overall and 2nd in the GB Championship race behind the overall winner, Porsche Supercup driver Ben Barker. The team were delighted with the result. I later found out that I was named the Carrera Cup GB “Driver of the Race” which really capped a brilliant experience.
I am still 2nd in the Championship standings, 14 points behind the current champion Michael Meadows. We now move on to Croft, near Darlington for the next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the BTCC meeting 28/29 June. It’s a circuit I really like, so although I haven’t driven a Porsche there, I feel confident and I’m really looking forward to it.
Finally, I want to say a huge “thank you” to everyone who sent messages of support before and congratulations after the Le Mans race. It’s so good to hear from you and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support.