Following an injury lay-off of nearly 10 weeks, Jack Aitken completed his return to racing in fine style last weekend, finishing a creditable sixth place in the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season-finale in Barcelona.
Back at the wheel of his Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, the British-Korean driver produced a superb drive across the weekend alongside team-mates Konsta Lappalainen and Arthur Rougier.
The weekend was far from straightforward for Jack, having not sat in the car since his high-speed accident during the Spa 24 Hours two months ago. Despite the lack of seat time, Jack got back into the swing of things in a pair of private test sessions at the Barcelona track on Friday.
With the slightly daunting task of turning a wheel for the first time since August, Jack was quickly back up to speed ahead of official free practice, with the #114 crew keen to dial in the ideal set-up for the crucial qualifying session which would set the grid for the three-hour Endurance Cup race.
Across the cumulative three-segment qualifying, Jack and his team-mates set the eighth-quickest time, a remarkable achievement which demonstrated not only the synergy within the line-up but also the raw speed of Jack in Q3.
The race was as much a strategic battle as it was a sprint during each stint. Nevertheless, Jack brought the car home sixth, capping off an impressive return to action and rounding out a strong maiden season in GT racing.
Not without its ups and downs, Jack has been one of the shining lights among the rookies in the GT World Challenge Europe field this year, adapting to new, demanding machinery with aplomb and improving race after race.
For the first time, Jack’s car carried the colours of Korean Air, South Korea’s national airline, which was represented in GT racing for the first time as well, with a prominent logo on the Lamborghini’s wheel arch and Jack’s helmet.
JACK ON…BEING BACK IN THE CAR
“I felt good in the car straight away so there was no issue there at all: it was just great to be back. There was a little bit of soreness, but nothing that came close to being a problem and I was back on the pace within just a few laps. It was also a real pleasure to be working with the team again, and I could feel the improvements that had been made to the car. Nothing revolutionary obviously, but just small steps in terms of overall set up.”
JACK ON…HOW THE WEEKEND WENT
“I don’t think we left anything on the table and we got everything we could out of the weekend, so I’m happy. The only unfortunate thing was that there were a few yellow flags during my final stint, so that made it a bit tricky sometimes, but apart from that it was a pretty straightforward weekend and the car was performing extremely well. Being very familiar with Barcelona helped too. A nice weekend from start to finish.”
JACK ON…THE END OF HIS FIRST GT SEASON
“I’ve really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I wanted to do something different at the start of this year and I think I’ve achieved that, adding to my overall skills as a driver, and getting to experience a different car and some different circuits. The team has been fantastic, and I’ve definitely got a good taste for GT racing now.”
Source. Jack Aitken