With the first round of the World Touring Car Championship out of the way and the second one cancelled, we took the chance to catch up with bamboo Engineering’s Harry Vaulkhard to see what he’s up to in the long break until the next race.
Back at the beginning of March Vaulkhard took part in his first WTCC race, despite a challenging time and being thrown in at the deep end (almost literally with the amount of rain) he had a solid series debut. “My first weekend in WTCC was great” he admits. “I really enjoyed the whole experience, on and off track was a very different scenario to BTCC but I like it. Its pretty much what I was expecting after the ETC last season. Its very much a two class race with the manufacturers being a fair way up the road but the independent class is mega tough too.”
With no prior track knowledge heading out to Brazil Vaulkhard and team-mate Darryl O’Young took full advantage of bamboo engineering’s race simulator to gain an insight into the Curbitiba track. “The bamboo sim training really helped Daryl & I, we both felt right at home at Curitiba, and were able to be the guys to beat in the INDYS for a lot of the first session, which is amazing when you think neither of us had been there and just about everyone else had.”
Track knowledge wasn’t the only thing that Vaulkhard gained using the simulator. “I’ve found a huge improvement in my braking which was largely learnt on the sim.”
So with round 1 out of the way and a gap of 2 months until the next race what is Vaulkhard doing to kill the time?
“Well after Brazil I took a break in Rio which was nice, but since then I have been working hard on my fitness as the extra heat abroad makes racing even tougher, a cold day in Brazil was about the hottest it ever gets in England and it was clear to see I needed to get a bit fitter.” he says.
Along with keeping fit he hopes to get some track time in to help him focus. “I’m hoping to get some karting done and maybe another Formula Renault test before Marrakech to keep my eye in, its tough with such a big gap to stay focused on the job.”
With the British Touring Car Championship kicking off last weekend at Thruxton we asked Vaulkhard if he missed the series. “I could have killed to be out there, but thats the way any driver feels when your sat watching it on TV, I also love Thruxton too.”
“The first race looked like a war of attrition with so many punctures and people going off but the rest of the day panned out as I expected pretty much. It seems as if there are about 7 guys who could win this year but then theres a bigger gap back after that.”
The next round of the WTCC Series is due to be held in Morocco on 2 May.