This season I have moved into the Porsche Carrera Cup GB with Team Parker Racing. It has a really good, family atmosphere, and it is fun albeit very professional, so it’s conducive to us all performing well on track. Everyone welcomed me straight away and it’s been a great environment to be a part of, so I am happy with my decision.
It’s been interesting getting up to speed with the new 992-style Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and it’s also been helpful to have someone like [2021 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion] Harry King to learn from. Not only did he move from Elite Motorsport in Ginetta to Team Parker in Porsche, like I did, but he’s coaching the Carrera Cup drivers when he isn’t racing himself. He did two years in the Carrera Cup GB, in a different car, but last year, he drove the 992 in the Porsche Supercup, following the F1 package, so he knows his way around it.
To have his knowledge and experience means a lot, and I don’t think with any other team you’d have someone as good as Harry. He knows what he’s on about, he’s professional, and he can relate to being in my position and going into a new championship like he did two years ago. He was the Porsche Junior, so he had a bit more pressure on his shoulders, but it is good to have his experience and I’d like to take that and put it into my racing.
During pre-season testing there were one or two times where I felt like I’d ended the day and I was kicking myself a bit as I could have done better, even though we were quick and probably as quick as my team-mate and reigning Pro-Am champion Ryan Ratcliffe. I’m enjoying having battles with him on track and being mates off track – I think it’s better that we are team-mates, and we’re not from opposite teams, because there’s always that respect.
The opening weekend of the season at Donington Park was really, really good. It was a shame we couldn’t have come away with two wins, but it’s the first weekend, though that’s not really an excuse, is it?! It was a good performance overall and in the first race, we were hanging on the back of the Pros, challenging them, though we didn’t want to take any silly risks because there was no need. Race two was also good and the pace was strong, especially as we didn’t have a front splitter for most of it. Despite that we kept Ryan behind, and we were kind of keeping up with Will Martin ahead, who is a Pro and a race winner. It is really promising, it’s very uplifting, and it makes you more confident for the rest of the season as well.
I was surprised just how much downforce the splitter provides, to be honest. Going into the Craner Curves I had to hover my foot over the brake pedal, over the top of the hill, just to get a bit of turn in, because it was one of the fastest ways to do it. It was a bit annoying, but I had to do it everylap, so I got in the rhythm. Through sector one, we were always a tenth up, we just lost it throughout the rest of the lap.
Outside of racing, I live in Italy. I enjoy it a lot and I’ve been flying in and out since I was 13 or 14. There have a couple of times where I’ve felt like “this is hard work,” but don’t get me wrong, it’s always a challenge I can take and my school support me in every way they can, so I appreciate them for doing that.
I tend to stay fit through workouts and cardio, whether that’s from running or cycling, though mostly cycling because I prefer it. Over the winter it went well, but I think there’s always room for improvement on that side. I am looking to improve, and I pushed myself a little extra before the season started, just to feel 100% ready. Beyond that, I don’t really have a diet that I follow or anything, rather just make sure I eat well.
Looking ahead to Brands Hatch, I love it there. In Ginetta Junior I had bad luck, but last year in GT5 it wasn’t bad, with a third and a second. I do prefer the GP circuit to the Indy layout, but it’s still a great track. It’s got a lot of history to it, and we’ll have lots of newly re-laid surface, so we’ll have to see how that goes. I think it’ll be down to whoever gets a lap in, in qualifying, because it’s such a big field. I’m sure it will be fun, so we’ve just got to hook it up and get the job done.
We basically have two 15-minute sessions as you do a run on each set of tyres, so we have to get them switched on as quickly as possible. You weave straight away coming out of the pit lane, while double pedalling on the brake. Some people don’t like it, but it’s a lot easier to get the heat in the tyres that way and on the second set, because the brakes are warmed up it’s even quicker. From the brakes, the heat goes straight up into the rim, which then goes into the tyre itself. I do two tyre runs, like pretty much everyone else, as you set a banker on the first set. I was surprised at Donington because you can find up to six or seven-tenths in your lap with the second set, so you have to put it all on the table and see where you end up. Hopefully, for me, that will be at the front.