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My 2018 top 6…. #1

My 2018 top 6…. #1

Reviewing my 2018 season, I have written up my top 6 highlights of the season for all the cool things I’ve got upto! Make sure you visit back the previous 5 articles to read up on these highlights! Enjoy!

#1 – Pole Position at VLN6. My 3rd time in a GT3 car.

If you have been following my 2018 racing career, then this will come as no surprise to you. A defining moment for me, my season and my career, a performance that put me on the Sportscar racing map!

VLN4, my first run in a GT3 car, took place before the long summer gap! So I was raring to go for VLN5 the 6hr. However with an extra driver, I only got 1 very interrupted Nordschlife lap during qualifying and then in the race, my team mate crashed on his inlap to hand over to me. So I hadn’t really got much track time since my first GT3 race weekend, even though I felt I knew a lot of places I could improve, but I would have to wait a further 3 weeks until I could have another go at getting behind the wheel of a GT3 car and have a crack at achieving my aim of going sub 8mins!

During Friday practice, I felt like I was driving very well and felt super confortable with the car, while pushing my comfort zones in the places I knew where I could improve having had a long time to look through the data.

On Saturday morning I was given the “sacred” qualifying slot, the final 10mins, where the track is clearest and the flow of traffic is fastest! All the ingriedience for a fast lap, pressure on! Earlier in the session I completed my lap to qualify for the race on old tyres and even with a Code60 zone, achieved some fast sector times which, once on a lap with no slow zones, would have seen me go Sub8. This calmed me as I knew I just had to repeat what I had already done and the track would come to me!

As I was still new and relatively unknown to the team this was a bit of a risk for them, so Rudi our most experienced driver took new tyres and set his own PB to go sub8. I took his tyres, and went for it on my first lap. I had Rudi’s time on my dash and tried to ignore it as much as possible, and drive my own lap, but when I encountered traffic I couldn’t help but glance to see what I would need to make up! I had managed to bring it back to level going into the final part of the lap, but then it suddenly dropped where Rudi had traffic and I was well ahead! I completed the lap in 7:57.491 and when I saw it on the dash I was over the moon! Objective complete. I was so happy I missed my braking point for T1 on my 2nd flying lap! The team then informed me that it was good enough for pole position, of which I was super surprised at. After that I thought, it will be beaten soon, however a Code60 on the GP circuit meant that people weren’t able to go faster and my lap stood!

By the time I’d finished my 2nd flyer, I still didn’t believe that I’d still be there, but I was met by a cheering team boss Henry Walkenhorst who opened the door and helped me out! I stood on the side of the car, gave it the #1 finger to the cameras and jumped into Henrys arms! What a result, I had arrived! Confirming my ability to drive with the best on the world’s toughest circuit!

Starting the race, having some of my hero’s and a lot of drivers I look upto in my mirror was a strange but awesome feeling, something I will never forget! Unfortunatly the race didn’t follow qualifying as the wrong compound of tyre was choosen at the start meaning after 2 laps the tyres were toast. I had to endure another 3 laps with no grip, before pitting for the correct compound. After that the pace would return even though we were well down the order, and eventually an engine failure put paid to the race and I had to stop out on track. However nothing could bring me down from the mornings result!

An awesome weekend, one to remember, and luckily I caught it all on my VLOG which I will look back on for years to come! Watch my VLOG “VLN6 – Pole Position at the Nurburgring VLN6!” on my YouTube channel below:

DPM