In the second and final part of his interview with The Checkered Flag from the recent Autosport International Show, Josh Webster gives us his thoughts on his move into GT racing with Porsche.
It’s all change for Webster heading into 2014. After a career based in single-seaters so far, the two-time Protyre Formula Renault Championship vice-champion, who competed in GP3 last season, has made the move into GT racing and the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain.
The discipline change comes after the 20 year old was successful in the 2014/15 Porsche Carrera Cup Scholarship competition, the prize fund for which sees him receive £80,000 towards his Carrera Cup budget for each of the next two seasons.
Webster admits that while he wasn’t necessarily eyeing a switch into GT racing for 2014, the chance to compete in the Porsche Scholarship was one he couldn’t miss out on.
“I entered the Porsche Scholarship purely because I’ve always wanted to race Porsche’s, and although my focus was on reaching Formula One, I’ve always had that inkling inside me that wanted to get into GT’s and Porsche’s” said Webster.
“Driving the Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT cars in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, I loved the GT feel and when the Scholarship came along, I thought I’d give it a go. It was a big decision to make once I got into the final four, whether to make the switch, and we decided to just see how we got on. Now I’m here with my car on show, it’s a really exciting time.”
Webster came up against Renault UK Clio Cup racer Ignas Gelzinis, VW Scirocco Cup star Ross Wylie and reigning British GT4 champion Ryan Ratcliffe in the Scholarship final, which featured on-track, fitness and media assessment’s, as well as a panel interview.
“The other three drivers had come from a GT racing background, and I was the only single-seater driver in there, so I knew it would be tough,” he commented. “My attitude was just to go in and do the best I could. Both the fitness test and on-track assessment went well, especially considering it was my first time in the car and it was wet, but I took to it like a duck to water and I’m delighted I was successful.”
The main change for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB heading into 2014 is the introduction of a new car, with the 997 model being replaced by the 991 edition. With all the teams and drivers still to learn the new car, Webster feels it’ll be a more level playing field for him this season.
“If it was in the old car, I would feel like I would have to play catch-up,” he explained, “and while I still am to a certain extent – if I could take a couple of years of GT experience in with me it would help – it’s a new car, I’ve been told it’s a completely different beast to the old one, and everyone will be learning the car at the same time.”
While it will be a steep learning curve for the Stowmarket-based racer, he’s confident he can follow in the footsteps of former Scholarship winner Michael Meadows and become Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion over the next two years.
“You’ve always got to be careful with how you approach a season, as I learnt last year in GP3 when I went in expecting more than I ended up achieving. My outlook on Porsche is still the same as it is with any racing though, I want to win the championship,” he concluded.
“Whether that comes in the first or second season, I don’t really mind as long as I get there in the end. If I do the best job I can do, I’m happy, and I’ll know by the first qualifying session at Brands Hatch where I fit in.”
The 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain season kicks off around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on the weekend of March 29/30, with Webster set to confirm details of his team for the year soon.