Hello Pit Talk Asia readers and welcome to the second instalment of my blog from Round 2 of the FRD LMP3 Series. It has been a busy couple of weeks since the last event, both in reviewing data and doing driver reports, and also while preparing for the next round.
After each round I do a full report to my team on my feedback from the weekend- both my performance and car performance, and generally anything I feel is useful to contribute to my engineer and team in making decisions about our performance going forward. I then receive a report from my engineer detailing things from their side, and it really helps identify what areas we need to work on. These can take a fair amount of time to compile! Also, I have to follow up with all my sponsors and partners with the coverage from the weekend, compiling pictures, video reviews etc. to ensure they are happy. A fair amount of paperwork!
It was a particularly warm weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit on July 28-29, with temperatures reaching 41 degrees Celsius at some points! This made it particularly difficult for the drivers in the closed cockpit LMP3 cars. Indeed it was so hot that the usual ice companies who do deliveries to the circuit were unable to provide any ice!
Practice got underway on the Friday late afternoon with another session on Saturday morning, and I was happy to see a step forward in performance from both myself and the Eurasia Motorsport team. Fourth-place on the time sheets gave me confidence that we could challenge for the front row heading into qualifying, but as is pretty standard, rain started to fall just before qualifying which made it a very tricky session to read.
As it turned out, the first lap on the slick tyres was the best one, and I came within 0.1s of the front row I was targeting, but still I was happy to line up on the second row as you can be hero or zero in those sorts of conditions. This meant that I would be lining up in 4th place for the main race which took place on the Sunday, and give me an opportunity to fight at the front of the prototype grid.
I managed to pull a move around the outside of 3rd placed Olivier Lombard on the first corner and move into the Top 3, and got my head down for my stint of the race. I ran in 4th for much of it, but we still aren’t quite there yet as a team so after our Pitstop to handover to my teammate Julio Acosta, we finished in 6th place. An improvement on the last event however so that was something!
Motorsport is all about identifying your weaknesses and doubling down on them to ensure that you can come back stronger to the next event, and something which is not always seen is how much of a team effort racing can be. Thankfully I am improving in my driving, my team are learning the best way to set up these cars for on the Giti tyre, and we have started to move in the right direction.
Looking ahead, round 3 of the Championship is coming up on August 26/27, once again at the Shanghai International Circuit. It is a track I really enjoy and have won at before, and it will be good to go back there now we have more experience in the series and see what we can do.
In the meantime, I will be continuing with my heat training (basically, doing all my workouts in 3 layers of clothing and sitting in the sauna each day) and organising the logistics for the next event where we will be welcoming a large number of staff and guests from my main partner EVISU!