Martin Donnelly admitted to taking a cautious approach on his debut Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship outing, but sung praises of the Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing project.
The former Lotus F1 racer intends to provide his racing and engineering knowledge to assist the development of the Infiniti squad in 2015, making his debut this weekend at the high-speed Hampshire circuit.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag on Saturday afternoon after his first run in the car, Donnelly said: “I’m delighted to be racing and to help in the development of a new team.
“I hope to be able to use my years of experience to help the engineers, which gives me an enormous amount of personal satisfaction.
“When I drove the car on Saturday for the first time, I drove around nice and gently”, Donnelly said of his first outing in the car.
“Times started getting a little bit faster and all of a sudden I felt more relaxed. We started to push, then made a few changes to the car for free practice two. Unfortunately, we then had a mechanical problem.”
Donnelly insisted that his drive is set to last for the remainder of the 2015 season, having only discovered he would be racing for the squad on Friday afternoon.
With the team still very much in its youth stages after just two BTCC meetings, Donnelly backed up team-mate Derek Palmer Jr‘s praise of the Infiniti squad, saying that development already looks positive for the future.
He added: “It’s a whole new engineering challenge for the Paras because, although they’ve worked on many different cars before, no two cars are the same. You’e got to work on it, learn about it and find out what makes it work better.
“This car after a bit more development can be qualifying inside the top 10 or top 15. It just needs time, then all of a sudden you will see what it can really do.”
Donnelly will start at the back of the grid in Sunday’s opening race in Hampshire, while team-mate Palmer Jr qualified 23rd.