Dan Lloyd is hoping that he can mount a serious title challenge in his second season in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The 21-year-old from Huddersfield impressed in his debut season in the series in 2012, becoming the first scholar to win a race in his first year, on the way to sixth in the final championship standings.
It was a season of mixed emotions though, as well as the win at Thruxton and impressive podium finishes at Brands Hatch, Donington and Knockhill there were low points such as a race ending collision with team mate Andy Meyrick at Rockingham and a puncture at the first race at Brands Hatch which caused him to spin into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend.
Speaking exclusively to theCheckeredFlag.co.uk Lloyd said of his season: “It was definitely a tough year. I achieved what I wanted to achieve but I hoped to finish better than sixth in the final championship standings. Overall though it was very good and I learnt a lot.”
Lloyd’s slight disappointment with the way the season eventually panned out stems mostly from the fact that he started the season so well that it raised his expectations and when his results dipped slightly in the second half of the year he perhaps felt his year could and should have been even better.
Lloyd’s performance in the Carrera Cup was impressive enough to earn an extension of his scholarship, meaning that Porsche will once again put £80,000 towards his racing budget; the first time they have ever elected to do this. He said: “The highlight of the season was definitely finding out that Porsche had decided to extend the scholarship. I was over the moon when I found out, it was so unexpected.”
Porsche were not the only ones to reward Lloyd’s displays in 2012 as he was confirmed as a member of the KX Academy in January. “It was fantastic news to be selected to be part of the KX Academy. It’s a great opportunity and great to have a sponsor like that on board. Also being associated with a big brand such as Tesco gives my name more credibility.”
If this wasn’t enough a month later he was named a ‘Rising Star’ by the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC). “It was great to become a BRDC rising star. Anyone who is anyone in motorsport has come through the BRDC. I’d love to eventually become a full member,” he said.
With all of these accolades it would be easy to become distracted but Lloyd is as focussed and determined as ever. On his aims for the season ahead he said: “I hope to win the championship this year, I feel I’ve got the pace, I just need to put everything I learnt last year into practice, consistency will be key. It will be incredibly tough though as it looks like five out of the top six from last year will be back in the championship.”
There is a steely determination when he talks about challenging for the title but as he alludes to, the competition will be fierce. However he admitted to relishing the return of defending champion Michael Meadows and other frontrunners from 2012. “Having Michael back gives the championship more credibility and certainly makes it stronger. I’m up for the challenge.”
Lloyd will once again drive for Team Parker Racing as he bids for the title but will be without team mates from last year Richard Plant and Sam Tordoff, with the former opting to take a year out of competitive motorsport and the latter moving into the British Touring Car Championship with MG. This leaves Lloyd as the sole professional driver at the Leicestershire based team for 2013.
“I will miss having a competitive team mate and if we get to a particular circuit and we’re struggling then it might be a disadvantage. However if we’re strong somewhere then it might be an advantage as the team will be more focussed on me.”
This is a fair assessment of the situation, though most drivers like to be able to compare data with a team mate there was a feeling up and down the paddock that running three or four professional drivers as they did for the second half of last season, hindered Team Parker’s results at some race meetings.
This season with the team geared more towards Lloyd the general consensus is that he could well be a genuine contender. During the pre-season media day at Silverstone earlier in the month he set the second fastest time behind Meadows, backing up these thoughts.
It will be interesting to see if Lloyd can combine his raw pace and the experience that he gained during his first year in the series to seriously challenge for the crown in 2013, from what he has said and done in the build-up to the start of the season, it seems incredibly likely.