Charlie Robertson believes his stunning Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup title win was the culmination of a “lot of hard work paying off” and admits the success was unexpected in his first season in the category.
At just seventeen years of age, Robertson was the star driver in arguably the most competitive field in the Supercup’s short history, hitting the ground running from the opening weekend at Brands Hatch with fellow Supercup newcomers HHC Motorsport.
A maiden victory in only race two set the tone for a sensational season for Robertson, with a total of twenty podium finishes including eight race wins meaning that he wrapped up the title with relative ease on his return to Kent for the finale seven months later, a success he says was unexpected.
“We came into the season not really expecting too much from it. We obviously wanted to get wins and challenge at the front, but the team was new, I was new, so I wasn’t expecting to take the championship,” Robertson told TCF.
“The first win on the opening weekend, being right on the pace from the off, got it into my head that maybe I could do it though, and it’s been pretty good from there.”
The second half of the season in particular was exemplary for the 2012 Ginetta Junior champion, with the support of Jamie Orton as a team-mate from Snetterton onwards helping him push forwards.
It was that meeting in Norfolk that proved to be a turning point for Robertson. After taking the first two wins that weekend, an all-or-nothing move for the lead in race three led to a spin and a lowly ninth place finish.
From there, Robertson turned his attentions to not taking risks and taking consistent front-running results, something he certainly excelled at by finishing on the podium in each of the remaining ten races.
“I got into a rhythm from Snetterton really, it’s been super consistency and that’s what wins titles,” Robertson reflected.
“It’s important to get the wins, and I did that in the first half of the year mainly, so then when I realised I was in the prime position to win the title I started focusing on not taking risks and ensuring I brought the car home in points scoring positions.
“Jamie came in as an addition halfway through the year which definitely helped, we could have two cars working on set-up and I’ve really enjoyed working with him. It’s been a culmination of everything coming together really, a lot of hard work paying off.”
To win the championship, the Investigo and Blackstar-backed racer had to overcome the most experienced driver in Ginetta racing Carl Breeze, who ran with fellow Supercup newcomers United Autosports.
A slow start for his adversary meant Robertson held a fifty point advantage over Breeze after the opening weekend, meaning that despite a strong run in the middle of the season for the Ginetta stalwart, Robertson was never overtaken in a duel he relished.
“United Autosports were new to the series we well as us and I don’t think they got on top of the car as quickly as we did at HHC,” he commented.
“Oulton Park was the first time when Carl was right up there on the money and he pushed me hard in race one, so that was when I realised Carl was going to be fast and could catch us. He did that at Croft, and then Knockhill when he got quite close, but it just seemed to go my way after that.
“I got my head down and focused on what I was doing, I didn’t want to concentrate too much on him as you don’t want it to become tense with mind-games or anything. It was a fair fight, me and Carl didn’t clash at all during the season and it was a good battle.”
The Supercup success came after Robertson made the decision to move into the series from single-seaters, having been a title contender in BRDC Formula 4 and a McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist in 2013.
It’s a move the Scotsman is glad he made and after also making his GT3 category debut in the VdeV Championship with Team LNT this season, he now wants to progress up the GT ladder and is currently assessing his options for the new campaign.
“It was a little bit of a sideways step from single-seaters, it’s a radical switch that a lot of people don’t do but it’s something I wanted to do. I want to go down the GT route and further my career in sportscars, so this championship has been a very good base to learn from,” he concluded.
“We’ve got a few different things that we’re looking at for next season, but it’s too early to say right now. I’ve always been a driver to have something to say at the end of a season about what I’ll be doing the next year, but nothing is lined up yet. Hopefully next season will be even better.”