I’ve worked hard from the age of eight to get to this point, always working with a budget disadvantage, always achieving something against the odds. In the words of the late Craig Breen R.I.P “Don’t let anyone ever put you down because only you know your true potential”. To be signed by a big racing team is a dream come true. And despite being still on a tight budget, I have a development opportunity to become a professional racing driver.
This year I will be focused on BTCC racing development. We’ve entered the British Endurance Championship but in a unique way, racing an Audi S3 BTCC car. It is going to be a challenge for the team, to develop a sprint car for endurance racing, but my job is to develop with the team, understand the car, and develop my driving skills in readiness for any future commercial opportunity to enter the BTCC! Team HARD. Racing is a big team that has achieved success across multiple racing series in the UK, their halo presence being in the British Touring Car Championship, the premier racing series in the UK. Despite being a huge team, it’s like being a part of a family-run business. I’m really happy there and have been welcomed by everyone.
Working on a tight budget, testing will be limited, and much of my development will be in the races themselves. But in two and three-hour endurance race distances shared with my teammate Daryl Deleon, we will work hard to learn from the opportunity. The first round was at Silverstone on the full GP circuit, a big challenge for my first experience of the car, my first time racing on slick tyres and with over 3 times the power of last season and around a circuit with very fast corners. My aim was to progressively take the car faster and faster but to look after it and maximise our time in free practice, rather than going over the limits and throwing it off. After only getting wet experience in the Friday practice, I voted for Daryl to do the first qualifying, given that he has more experience at these speeds and on slicks, having won the Radical World Series this year.
We qualified fifth and were running well in the race. The car doesn’t have an equal, but we will race everything in front of us. It will be tough racing against Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, and McLaren’s, but we were competitive. After taking over from Daryl for the second stint in the race and shuffling down the order after our pit stop, I progressively took the car faster and faster, improving my lap times and overtaking other cars. It felt good to be competitive.
Unfortunately, the car started to have a problem and so I headed back to the pits where I had to stop the car in the pit lane. We recovered the car to the garage but it wasn’t possible to get the car back into the race. Bringing a BTCC car which is designed for short sprint races to an endurance race will have its challenges and the team will develop the car to go the distance. But the project attracted a lot of attention in the paddock.
That leads me back to the long-term plan. This year the focus is on getting seat time in a BTCC car. I really appreciate my sponsors supporting and enabling my development. This is the first season that we are fully reliant on sponsorship whilst the family recovers from getting me this far. We want to be on the biggest commercially beneficial platform next season which is the BTCC which would reward my sponsors with maximum exposure. We are seeking more sponsors to come on board this season and next, so please get in touch. The future is bright and the journey is inspirational for all involved.
Thanks to my sponsors Integrated Air Systems, Goodridge-Milford Funeral Directors Ltd and RHF Fans Ltd.
The next round is on 22 April at Brands Hatch on the Indy layout, which will be relentless! Hopefully, see you there. I’ll leave you with a summary of my first experience racing in the BEC: