British-Korean driver Jack Aitken endured a frustrating start to his GT career at Monza – as he didn’t even get to drive the car in the race. Round one of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS series, the premier championship for GT cars in Europe, marked Jack’s debut in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo run by Swiss team Emil Frey Racing.
But it didn’t go to plan. In an incident-packed and rain-affected race, Jack’s co-driver Konsta Lappalainen picked up a puncture in the first half of the three-hour endurance race, and the resulting damage meant that their Lamborghini was no longer able to continue.
Earlier, Jack had impressed in qualifying, placing the car seventh on his debut in GT racing, less than a tenth of a second behind Lamborghini Squadra Corse driver Albert Costa in the sister Emil Frey car. His performance elevated the #114 car up to P14 overall on average lap time across the three drivers. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to translate that pace into race performance, through no fault of his own.
Still, it was far from a wasted journey to Monza. The car and the team proved their pace, and Jack got to see from the inside how a GT weekend works.
This year, Jack is embarking on a varied programme of competition, combining his Williams F1 Team reserve driver role with a full-season assault in GT World Challenge, which is disputed over 10 weekends, split between Sprint and Cup races.
Jack’s next GT race will now take place at Magny-Cours in France from May 7-9.
JACK ON… THE MONZA WEEKEND
“It wasn’t what I expected! We were looking good after practice and qualifying but it was a bit of a chaotic race with bad weather and lots of incidents. As a result, there was plenty of debris on the track and that was probably what caused the puncture. Unfortunately, the puncture then went on to cause too much damage for the car to continue. It was a shame as I think we were on for a good result, although in those sorts of conditions you can never tell. I would have liked to have had the experience of driving in them though, so I was certainly pretty gutted when I saw what happened. That’s racing though.”
JACK ON… WHAT HE LEARNED
“Even though I didn’t get to drive in the race, I still learned a lot from the weekend. Just the experience of being with the team and seeing how an endurance race worked was really valuable. The team were pretty pleased with our first qualifying, where I think we showed our potential. It’s still very early days so to be close to the top guys is very encouraging. The GT environment is very different to what I’m used to and there was a lot to take in, so I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to do that.”
JACK ON… GETTING TO GRIPS WITH GT RACING
“I’ve really enjoyed driving the Lamborghini. It’s a big contrast of course to a single-seater, but it’s a different challenge and that’s exactly what I wanted to give myself this year. I know Monza well so there are some things that I could carry over from past experience, but most of it was all new, so I’m enjoyed finding out about that and soaking up the atmosphere.”
JACK ON… WHAT’S NEXT
“I’m going to chill out for a few days at my home in Oxford, then I’ll be back to simulator work with Williams as well as preparation for the next GT round at Magny-Cours, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Source. Jack Aitken