British GTInterviews

Alexander Sims on 2015 British GT: “I thought we had it in the bag”

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Alexander Sims has revealed that he will remain with the BMW stable in 2016, but does not know his full schedule ahead of the new season, although he does know he will be competing in four rounds of the British GT championship in a Lamborghini.

Sims will participate alongside fellow Briton Liam Griffin in the final four rounds of the British GT season for Barwell Motorsport, having spent the previous two seasons racing alongside Marco Attard in the Ecurie Ecosse powered by Black Bull squad.

“They’ve yet to be announced with BMW, but I will be with BMW,” said Sims to The Checkered Flag at the Autosport International Show. “It’ll probably be in Europe and a proper full programme, which will be nice.

“Alongside that BMW have been good enough to let me do a few races with Barwell, in British GT, I think it’s the last four races with Lamborghini.

“I haven’t driven it, haven’t even seen the Lamborghini yet but I’ll get to drive it alongside Liam, that’ll be interesting. I’ve known Liam for the last year and a half or so but not worked with him closely so that’ll be good fun.”

Sims admitted his disappointment to have lost out winning the British GT championship in 2015, missing out in his Ecurie Ecosse entry with team-mate Attard by just thirteen points having seemingly been in control of the championship until the penultimate round of the year at Snetterton.

At Snetterton, a mistake from Sims on a wet track, while a collision between Attard and the Beechdean GT4 entry of Jamie Chadwick saw them drop behind the Beechdean GT3 entry of Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam in the championship standings.

“The end [of the season] was thoroughly disappointing to be honest, I honestly thought we had it in the bag in British GT,” revealed Sims. “Marco and I did a good job all year long, and then came Snetterton and Donington.

“Snetterton was my fault, Donington was a mixture between Marco and someone else I guess, in Jamie [Chadwick] but honestly to this day I never saw it so I don’t really have anything to judge it on but my gut feeling it was a racing incident. 

“I know Marco feels differently but I hate to believe conspiracy theories, they just bring you down.”

Sims revealed that a deal to return with Attard for a third season was possible, but due to commitments elsewhere for Sims, the partnership was unable to continue.

“We were very close to doing it again this year with Marco again, but the sticking point was me not being able to do all of the rounds,” revealed Sims. “I don’t think Marco was keen to commit to the season knowing if we won he would win alone again like it was in 2014.

“I don’t think he really enjoyed that situation, he wanted to win it or lose it as a team so that was the thorn in the situation.”

Part of Sims’ schedule for 2016 will include the Nurburgring 24 Hours, with the Briton admitting he knows the Nordschleife quite well but finds it almost impossible to get a clear lap.

“I’ll be doing the Nurburgring 24 hours, and hopefully another 24 hour race as well,” said Sims. “I know the Nurburgring quite well, I’ve done a number of VLN races and two 24-hour races, both of which have been cut short unfortunately, but I know the Nordschleife pretty well and looking forward to tackling it again this year.

“You just don’t get a clear lap [there], a perfect lap would probably involve overtaking five cars still because you just don’t get a clear lap ever. 

“I guess the only chance you’d get is if you were in the shoot-out for pole position, the top twenty shoot-out, which I haven’t done yet, maybe I can be the guy who does that for the car this year but the race is crazy. 

“I’ve done Le Mans, I’ve done the Spa 24 Hours, but Nurburgring, in terms of the atmosphere and the nuances and the things you’ve got to deal with on track, its the most demanding.”

As well as his GT commitments in 2015, Sims returned once more to Formula 3 competition, competing for Hitech Grand Prix in two events of the European Formula 3 Championship season and then for Double R Racing at the legendary Macau Grand Prix, where he finished a strong third. He admits he is particularly happy driving in Formula 3, and won’t rule out a return again in 2016.

“You can never rule it out,” said Sims. “2015 was really, really good with Hitech.  The single seater stuff I really love it, I still to this day say the Formula 3 car is the best car I’ve ever driven, I’ve been privileged to drive F3 for the last six years.

“Year in year out I’ve always got some seat time, and this year again its been quite a lot with Hitech and Double R; I never turn it down.

“The Macau experience was awesome.  I’d never had a podium before, I’d had a fourth place two years ago with T-Sport but first podium this year both races, you don’t realise how good a third place can feel when you’ve done it five times before and not got it.

“I know Felix [Rosenqvist] and Charles [Leclerc] are two very quick drivers, so I was very pleased with that result, I thought it was very good for the team Double R to show what they can do, they’ve had a difficult year or two, they’re still bang on up there, and from a personal point of view, nice to get a podium.”

On Sims’ bucket list for the future is a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he has one previous entry back in 2012 with Status Grand Prix, and he admitted he would jump at the chance of a second shot.

“I’d consider [a return to Le Mans] all day long, if I had the chance to drive there,” admitted Sims. “So far haven’t been able to go back.

“If BMW were to go back, or if an opportunity came up for me to go back there, I would take it with both hands; I really, really enjoyed Le Mans.”

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