Jack Aitken will take on the renowned 1000km of Paul Ricard this weekend in the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup in what he hopes will deliver more success than the first outing at Monza last month.
The British-Korean driver showed impressive pace on the opening weekend in Italy, qualifying the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo seventh on the grid for the three-hour race, but a puncture forced he and his team-mates Konsta Lappalainen and Arthur Rougier out of the race before Jack got in the car for his stint.
However, a morale-boosting first Sprint Cup race of the year at Magny-Cours at the start of the month has given Jack renewed confidence ahead of the longest race of the season so far.
The 1000km of Paul Ricard generally lasts around six hours and is, with the exception of the season’s jewel in the crown event, the Spa 24 Hours, the most demanding test of physical, mental and mechanical performance in the entire calendar.
The race takes place on Saturday 29th, starting in the late afternoon and finishes under the lights in late evening. This type of race lends itself to some of the fastest race laps due to the cooler ambient and track temperatures, leaving Jack and his team-mates almost perfect conditions to showcase their raw speed.
Having been able to display his raw speed at Magny-Cours, setting the fastest lap of the race – with a purple time in all three sectors – before his driver-change pit-stop, Jack is raring to go on a familiar circuit. He’s also keen to continue the momentum after a promising showing in his Formula 2 return at Monaco last weekend – which will be repeated in Baku, Azerbaijan, next weekend.
JACK ON… THE PAUL RICARD CIRCUIT
“I’m really looking forward to continuing the progress we are making in GT racing. There’s been so much that’s brand new to me when it comes to approaching the racing in this environment, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it and the team has been entirely professional, so I’m looking forward a strong weekend. I know Paul Ricard pretty well, which helps, although obviously not in this context!”
JACK ON… HIS MONTE-CARLO WEEKEND IN FORMULA 2
“If you look at it for what it was, with the amount of time I’d been out of the car, it went as I expected it to really: providing a good opportunity to re-acclimatise myself to the car and the championship and get myself back into the swing of things once more. I’m actually a bit surprised as to how quickly it all felt familiar again. Obviously, Monaco is Monaco: a totally unique circuit where traffic and overtaking is always a problem. We didn’t get the qualifying we wanted, which puts you on the back foot, but we had some good races and plenty of time in the car, which is encouraging. Straight after Paul Ricard we have Baku in F2, so it’s a busy few days!”
JACK ON… BUILDING MOMENTUM IN GT RACING
“It’s coming together. My intention this year was always to broaden my experience and abilities as a complete driver, so everything that I’m learning in GT racing is helping me to achieve those objectives – and Paul Ricard this weekend, with another night race, adds an extra element. Jumping from one different type of car into another is always a challenge, but it does help to build up that adaptability, so I’m getting a lot out of it and also enjoying working with my team mates, which is a really fantastic aspect of GT racing.”
Source. Jack Aitken