BLANCKLEY TO TRY HIS HAND AT GT RACING AT CROFT
Former Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver and sibsport team owner Simon Blanckley has announced he is to drive a Porsche 997 during the Avon Tyres British GT Championship meeting at his local circuit of Croft this coming weekend (8th-9th Sept).
Blanckley, from Durham, will be a guest driver in the Team 4Car with Confused.com Porsche 997 GT3 machine for rounds 11 and 12 of the season. This is Blanckley's first step as he looks towards a fresh challenge for both himself and for his team sibsport following his withdrawl from the BTCC last month. Blanckley joins the likes of fellow past and present BTCC drivers such as Tim Harvey, Tom Ferrier and Adams Jones in making an appearance in the popular championship this season.
With his overall racing background focused around competing in saloon cars - which included racing the sibsport Honda Integra during the 2007 BTCC - Blanckley feels he is in for an all together more demanding experience this weekend. "It's the first time I will have driven a GT car in a race so I'm pretty excited. I've had couple of Porsche cars previously but they were road cars so there isn't any real comparison!
"It's going to be really different racing the Porsche compared to what I have been used to previously. GT cars are substantially more powerful and as a result trickier to handle compared to saloons. Physically the races are longer so it's going to be important to keep concentration levels high and to keep being consistent lap after lap," says Blanckley.
Blanckley is also relishing his return to Croft after experiencing a successful meeting earlier in the year when the BTCC visited the circuit. "Croft was certainly one of the highlights of my season in the BTCC. Although the results on track weren't ideal that weekend we had a lot of support and the sibsport garage was buzzing on Saturday and Sunday. I'm sure the locals will come down to Croft in their masses for this weekend, too. It will be great to have some local support once again."
Given that Blanckley will be making his debut in GT racing, he is realistic about his aims for the weekend. "I really don't know what results to expect from the weekend's racing to be honest, even though I know the circuit very well. Obviously I'd like to get a good result for the team but for me personally I'd like to finish the race and get into the demand groove of GT racing," he explains.
Referring to his future plans, Blanckley remains undecided. "We'll see how this weekend goes. There are several openings that I'm investigating for next season, mainly focusing around sports cars, either in the UK or further afield. Everything is still at an early stage and no firm plans are in place yet, but team sibsport will be running in some form next season with me as the driver."
The opening Avon Tyres British GT Championship race of the weekend gets underway provisionally at 16.15 on Saturday, with the second race starting at 14.15 on Sunday. With both races lasting 60 minutes, as well as many other support races, fans will be treated to an entertaining weekend. More information on the event can be found by visiting www.croftcircuit.co.uk.