Connaire Finn has laid out his intentions to challenge for class podiums and wins in his debut season in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup. He is competing in the series in a G50 run by Beacon Racing and TCF caught up with the Irishman at the series opening rounds at Brands Hatch to speak about his hopes for the year.
Finn joins the series with years of racing in Ireland behind him, competing in Fiat Punto Abarths and Global GT Lights, as well as over a year's running in the UK, having taken part in the Lotus Elise Trophy for a full season in 2009 and the back end of 2008.
Finn explains that one of the reasons he joined the series is due to its one-make format, saying: “I came over just to race competitively, put myself in a like for like car, rather than at home or in Elise Trophy, where it was never like that, the rules weren't tight. At least here the rules are tight, which means you're just seeing how good you are as a driver, to measure yourself and see if you're good, bad or indifferent.”
Another big draw was the chance to compete on the support bill of the British Touring Car Championship: “The TOCA package is just exciting, in-between the races you can watch other great racing. You're racing on the best circuits, the standard of preparation of the cars is really high, so it's nice to be part of that and there's a professional feel to the whole thing.”
The Optimum Performance and Handling backed driver admits that his running over the winter was limited, leaving him slightly underprepared heading into the opening rounds: “I've just had one day really. We went to Donington two weeks ago but there was a problem with the car, so we only got two ten minute sessions. Apart from that it was Angelsey, which was a track day, getting some seat time in the car so we're a bit raw here this weekend.”
Despite the lack of running before the weekend, Connaire enjoyed a positive start to his season at Brands Hatch. Race one saw him finish fourteenth overall and sixth in class, with Finn then finishing in the same position in race two, though this time fifth in class. Race three produced another strong run until contact from a rival sent him spinning into the gravel and out of the race.
Finn believes that as he gets more running in the car under his belt, he will move up the field: If we can get me and the car on the pace, I believe that both of us are capable of being consistent throughout the year. This weekend we're lacking on knowledge of the car and my knowledge of driving it, but I hope genuinely over a couple of weekends that we can get up to the same speed as everyone else, in terms of track speed and knowledge of the car, and run at the front.
“If the cars right and I'm right, a class win or podium could come within a couple of weeks. As soon as we get towards the front of things, we're looking to win.”
Looking to the future, Finn has aspirations of competing in another of the BTCC support championships: “I'd really love to race in the Carrera Cup, I think it's a car that would suit my driving style, I have a GT3 road car that I use and I've driven in Germany, on the Nurburgring a lot in a GT3. But right now I can't afford it and I think it would be too much of a leap from clubman Elise Trophy straight into Carrera Cup. Others have probably done it and spent a lot of money, but I think I have to earn my right of passage as such, do well in a middle class and if you do well in that, move on. If not, face it that you're not at that level and not waste your money.”
You can keep up to date with Connaire's progress throughout the season at www.ConnaireFinn.com