Just an update from me on how this year is going so far and shaping up for the summer:
There is always the fear that not competing in a full season for a driver raises the question of decline. No doubt about it, I would absolutely love to have jumped straight back into a car and taken off from where we left after Oulton in 2017 but the risk of coming back too soon and not performing to the necessary levels would have been even more detrimental.
However, I have been very fortunate to receive help from some great people. Reflex Racing and Tolman Motorsport have been as supportive as ever with coaching work. Its been great working with David Pattison and Joe Osborne again. Seeing how the pair operate after a year as teammates is really impressive. Continuity is a great benefit and it is showing in the pairs competitiveness. The team as a whole is as impressive in its attention detail as it ever was. Its a big operation now; three cars!
Frustratingly, the poor weather meant that I couldn't work too closely with David on the day we were supposed to be working together. However, I did get the chance to try out the new GT4 McLaren 570S which is a fantastic bit of kit. Quite amazing how GT4 cars are marching on in what appears to be nothing short of a Cold War arms race. Everything from rear view cameras to touch sensitive control panel screens that even work under your race gloves!
I continue my work at Palmersport which is a fantastic place and a great way to keep the senses sharp even when you aren't in the driving seat. Its amazing how you quickly adapt. I feel I can predict from the passenger seat when we are about to spin and thus try and remedy the situation. It doesn't always end well...
At the end of April I am set to embark on my first Pure McLaren experience as a coach. This is a big opportunity to climb another notch on the ladder with the intention of becoming a more established driver coach. Even better news is that my first event will be at Spa. A very happy hunting ground for me in the past and always a special place to return to. Fingers crossed it goes well!
Perhaps the biggest opportunity which has come along over winter has been thanks to Speedworks Motorsport. I have known Christian and Amy for a long time, having been introduced to them in my first year. During this time, I have also driven into the back of their van so when I got the opportunity to compete in their stunning Ligier I thought they must have completely lost the plot! Fast forward a few weeks and I find myself back at Portimao, heaving myself (still not particularly agile or thin enough!!) into an absolute rocketship for what I told my physio was some "low-level testing to just see how the body copes"!
What a machine...I have a new found respect for the single seater and prototype drivers. Where a GT car will lean, roll and wonder its way to a corner, telling you well in advance what its going to do, the LMP3 car just turns on a six pence and goes. An amazing experience. Fortunately it went well. Although my fitness was suitable to drive the car, I was not strong enough to jump out for a pitstop so clearly more work needs to go on behind the scenes before I can race it. However, I now have a focus and that is to work with Speedworks and a Bronze driver to try and get out there full time again.
Lets see how the summer pans out...