While preparing for his return to the F3 Euro Series this weekend at the Nurburgring, Alexander Sims is still revelling from his first taste of sportscar action having tested the Aston Martin GT1 at Donington Park last Thursday.
Sims' opportunity to test the factory-run Aston Martin was part of his prize package in winning the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, where he also currently awaits a test drive in a McLaren-Mercedes F1 car.
Having received the call from Prodrive to get to Donington Park last week, Sims duly headed there for a shot at unleashing the ex-Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar on the Grand Prix Circuit.
“I was excited to get this test and again I'd like to thank Autosport and Aston Martin for giving me the opportunity,” stated Sims. “While I'm focused on a career in single-seaters, it was a great experience to sample the Aston Martin GT1 car. Not many drivers get to test a factory-backed entry like that and very few drivers of my age and experience are afforded such an opportunity!
“I was pretty comfortable with the car, having tyre warmers on – which I wasn't expecting, allowed me to get on it fairly quickly and push the limits in my first few laps. I was given three five-lap runs on the day so being able to push immediately allowed me to really maximize the opportunity. I ended up half a second quicker than the benchmark time which was pleasing to me, I think I did a good job, and from what I hear the team were happy as well!”
The significance of being a British driver, in a British sportscar on a famed British circuit, wasn't lost on the F3 rookie either.
“As I've said, not many people get to drive an Aston Martin GT1 and one as iconic looking as the Gulf-liveried sportscar,” Sims added. “It was a pretty special feeling for me and actually the first time I've driven a British race car of any kind! It was a great car to drive, it reacted in the way that I thought it would with the downforce probably being the thing that surprised me most.
“Off the back of this I'd definitely consider some sportscar outings to gain some further experience provided they didn't clash with my single-seater commitments. My sole aim is F1 but additional opportunities to gain race experience are definitely worth taking a look at.”
Sims, who races for Mücke Motorsport, returns to the F3 Euro Series this week keen to build on his back-to-back point finishes in Oschersleben earlier this month.
With a podium to his credit already in his rookie year, the Cambridgeshire racer currently sits eighth in the points.