SILVERSTONE'S MY FAVOURITE TRACK AND IT'S GOING TO BE A TOP WEEKEND
Alex Lynn – WEC Silverstone preview
The days are counting down now to the start of my first full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship, which begins with the Silverstone 6 Hours this weekend. I’m really excited to be joining the G-Drive Racing team to race their ORECA in the LMP2 class. But to say this is the start of my season as a driver would be false – it’s been flat-out over the past month!
Of course, I had the amazing experience in March of winning the Sebring 12 Hours in the States with Ricky and Jordan Taylor, and then it was straight into preparation for my debut in the Nurburgring 24 Hours next month with BMW. In order to get my A licence to race a GT3 car on the Nordschleife, I had to do two four-hour VLN races at the track in a BMW M235i Cup car. The main positive point was that I’ve now got my licence, which was more difficult than I probably realised. You’ve got to do 18 racing laps over the two races, and if you crash or even speed in yellow-flag sections then they take points away for your licence. They have unconventional rules at the Nordschleife, so to get my licence is a weight off my mind.
The circuit is a driver’s paradise – it really is. I’ve been fortunate enough that every day I’ve done so far has been in the dry, but I doubt I’ll be that lucky at the 24 Hours…
After the first VLN race, I flew out to Mexico City to do the shakedown session for the Formula E race with the DS Virgin Racing team. The car’s regular driver, Jose Maria Lopez, was at the Monza Prologue test for the WEC and had to fly in just before free practice, so I got to warm the car up. That was cool and I really enjoyed being part of a Formula E race weekend. Everything went to plan, I got the car back nice and safely and I set a decent pace too. Jose Maria has to miss the New York races in July because of a clash with the Nurburgring WEC round, so I’m really looking forward to racing the car there.
Then it was back to the Nurburgring for my second VLN race, and before that I got to drive the Nordschleife in the BMW M6 GT3 car for the first time. It was just a case of starting the learning process of that car on that track. It’s a hell of a lot easier in the M6 than the M235i, which is quite weird and funny. The M6 is an out-and-out race car, while the 235 is a modified road car. I’m doing the 24 Hours with the famous Schnitzer team alongside Antonio Felix da Costa and Timo Scheider, which is great, and that can’t come soon enough!
But for now it’s Silverstone. I really do think there’s a strong chance of a podium or even a win. Every car in LMP2 has to have a silver-rated driver – which is either an amateur or an up-and-coming driver who hasn’t yet proved himself in international races. Our silver driver is Pierre Thiriet, and he’s the best silver on the grid. Our other driver is Roman Rusinov – like Pierre he’s raced these cars for a while now and his performance is better and better in the latest generation of LMP2. I had to miss the Monza Prologue test because I was in Mexico, but Pierre and Roman were fourth and fifth quickest of every LMP2 driver – behind only some platinum-rated guys. So I’m very optimistic we’re in with a good shout.
The car I raced at Sebring was kind of LMP2, but the Gibson engine we use in WEC is a lot peakier than the rumbling Cadillac we have in the States, and the Dunlop tyres give better performance than the Continentals in America. Because of that, I’m glad I did the three-day test at Motorland Aragon with G-Drive before Sebring. We got a fair few laps in and some good experience, and obviously with my other activities I’m up to race sharpness already.
I’m really excited. I absolutely love Silverstone – it’s my favourite track and I think this is going to be a top weekend and a great way to start the WEC season.