Looking back at the last two rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship, you can really start to see the potential of the Sumo Power GT team.

It was wonderful to score my first GT1 World Championship podiums in Portugal, with two third place finishes, and we followed that up with fifth in the Championship Race in Germany.

The results were well needed because the first couple of rounds were a bit of a struggle. The team personnel are fairly new and some of the guys hadn't even seen the car before the first race. So, in terms of a learning curve, getting a team chemistry and people to understand what their role is, we're still going through that process.

We're now seeing the team's hard work and dedication rewarded with results.

The car suited the Portim?o track and we knew the Portuguese round offered an opportunity to get a good result. We finally picked up some good points and some momentum. It gave the guys on the team a massive boost of confidence and self-belief, so it was a great result from that perspective as well.

We haven't had the consistency from the race engineering side as we've had different engineers for every round and, while it's not ideal, that situation has now been sorted from Sachsenring onwards. That's another piece of the jigsaw in place and I really feel that we can now start to build on more results for Sumo Power GT.

We've had a few situations in the first couple of races and I made a few mistakes, but we certainly showed speed and it was frustrating not to see it all being put together. Of course, these things do take time with a new organisation. Once I learnt, I started doing a better job. The guys on the team have started to understand the car better and the set-up changes are making us quicker.

After the Algarve, going to the next round in Germany only a week later was good timing because we desperately needed a good result to underpin what we'd done so far. So we went into Germany with more confidence.

I enjoy racing in Germany as I always seem to do well there and the fans are amazing. The amount of autographs you sign is insane. It's quite remarkable and all the drivers comment on it. It's particularly intense if you've ever done F1 because they've got photos of everything, but it's actually nice to see some of the photos as they bring back good memories.

People also ask about my father, which is always very touching that they haven't forgotten him. They are hard core enthusiasts who are just happy to chat about racing, so that's why it's such a good experience. There was a big crowd supporting the event so there was a great atmosphere all weekend.

It was especially a good result considering the track didn't suit our car, certainly not as much as Portim?o did. The Sachsenring has a tight and twisty opening section and the GT40s and Aston Martins were just mighty through there. In the last section, we were able to hang in there with them, and perhaps were even slightly quicker, but we knew it was going to be a tough weekend to get on the podium, so it was important we got good points.

In the pit-stops, our guys have improved massively and I am so proud of them. They hadn't done our type of pit-stop before, so you can imagine how the first couple went. We had to go through a massive learning curve as we were losing quite a lot of time in the pits.

In Germany, the guys were the third quickest team in the first race and second quickest in the Championship Race, which shows how much they've improved and how that has improved our chances. At the beginning of the year, we would lose a couple of places in the pits and it was tough to get those positions back. In Germany, we actually gained two or three places at each stop, so it was a fantastic effort by the boys.

We've now got some consistency and Jamie [Campbell-Walter] and I are working so well together. He's such a great team-mate and he's fast. He's good at communication, he's a real pleasure to drive with and together we try and help the team as much as we can with our experience.

Anyone who puts a new team of people together knows how long it takes for everything to really gel. I look at the Highcroft situation and, yes, we were very successful straightaway, but it takes a while for everything to become seamless and it took three years for Highcroft to get to that level. We're only in year one with the Nissan GT-R Sumo Power GT team.

We've obviously still got lots to do, but the rate of progress in the last couple of rounds has been massive and fantastic to see. Everything is coming together at the right time. The results that we've had and the way the team is gelling. We've certainly made that next step and Silverstone will be the next step again.

DB

Comments

Loading Comments...