Following Race 2 this morning in Monza, Mitch Evans (MW Arden) was crowned GP3 Series™ champion. He sat down with us and shared his thoughts and hopes.
Mitch Evans - GP3 Series 2012 Champion. How does that sound to you? "If you told me at the start of the season I would be Champion before this season I wouldn't be able to describe how I would feel. Now I've been crowned Champion, I have no words to describe this.
It's a dream come true. I've sacrificed my whole life to come to Europe and it's so rewarding to win a title in my second year in Europe. The support I've had back home and here in Europe, the relationships that have developed, I've had such an unbelievable amount of support.
I wouldn't be here without all of it. I want to thank the Giltrap family and also Mark Webber and his partner Anne. Mark took me under his wing a couple of years ago and gave me this opportunity.
To drive for his team is so rewarding. There are so many people who made this possible, I can't name everyone but they know who they are. This championship isn't just for me, it's for so many people."
Were MW Arden informing you what was happening with Daniel Abt during the race over the radio? "Yes, they were and I was also trying to keep an eye on the TV screens. I guess when Daniel got into the lead the team tried to keep as quiet as possible.
I was coming through the pack really nicely and the team were really encouraging and telling for me to go the fastest lap which I managed to do. I knew Abt was leading when I had my puncture, so emotionally I was heartbroken. I was watching Tio on the TV screen at every chance I had.
I probably wasn't paying enough attention to my driving! I was screaming in my helmet 'Go Tio' as I knew that was my only hope for the title. I think I will be buying Tio a few drinks tonight. I went to see him and say thank you, he was my lifesaver. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be sitting here right now."
Talk us through the approach to your season after you had one year under your belt in GP3 Series in 2011? "Last year it was a bit of an unknown of how I would perform and how I would adapt to the European environment on and off the track. Being away from my family is pretty tough.
Last year was a learning curve to take into this season. This year has been much easier and a lot smoother, whereas last year was a lot more up and down. In 2012, we were one of the highest qualifiers on average but a lot of things let us down. Maybe some of that was inexperience and I have tried to learn from those mistakes.
This year we have had our fair share of bad luck too, which maybe the media have not heard about. We have capitalised on this when we have been quick. I really have to thank all the boys at MW Arden for giving me probably the best car this season. We were one of the best qualifiers both years.
The team have worked incredibly hard during the off season during the year, so have I. I live with Mark and we have been training really hard all season and it's really paid off. It's been a huge team effort, without them I wouldn't be here."
You have been the target all season for all the other drivers and led most of the championship, how difficult was it for you this weekend having to watch on the performance of others? "After practice and qualifying I felt really comfortable for the race. I got a shocking start, I had a problem with the clutch leaver and I didn't nail it.
I paid the price for it in turn one so I should take the blame for that. I was unfortunate to get the damage to the car after going over the kerb and it was not able to be repaired. I couldn't continue. Today in Race 2, I drove my heart out and I made up 18 positions in the first half of the race and was around P7.
I was catching the leaders so it would have been good to have seen where I would have ended up but unfortunately we got a puncture. It's been a huge emotional rollercoaster this weekend. To have two bad races, and then to win the championship is probably quite unusual but it's also amazing."
It's great for MW Arden to win a trophy with you as Drivers Champion and for Mark also? "Exactly. The whole MW Arden team are great. They put their heart and soul into it and sometimes don't get the reward that they deserve. This year we have got the results that we deserve. Unfortunately we couldn't get the Teams Championship, yesterday's race didn't really help that.
Congratulations to Lotus GP, triple champions is really impressive. They have been dominant all three seasons. I know my team really wanted that trophy so it's a shame we have missed out on that but at least I could get this trophy for them as I know how hard they have worked for this."
Looking ahead to next season, what are your plans, could we see you graduate to GP2? "Winning this championship, I receive a very nice cheque from Pirelli if I graduate to GP2 so that makes the transition to GP2 even more attractive which I think is the ultimate step for me.
Right now I need to get a budget together. Fortunately we got a budget for GP3 for two years. For GP2, it will be tricky so we will work hard during the off-season to put a budget together. Hopefully we will be in the same paddock next year."
By winning the GP3 Series championship, hopefully that will raise your worldwide profile? "My phone has been going crazy since the last race. Hopefully this well help and people will take a serious interest in my career. I hope I can receive more backing. You never know what can happen. There is a long way to go before the start of next season. Right now I just want to soak it up and enjoy the next few months before testing starts."
Source: GP3 Series