Barcelona Beckons For Balfe
The Balfe Motorsport Team heads to Barcelona next weekend (November 13/14), with just two hours separating it from a chance to clinch the title in the final round of the Spanish GT Championship.
The Newark Glass Group backed team, headed by team principal Shaun Balfe, finds itself in the position of heading into the final round of a championship with a title in sight for the second year running.
A slightly different race format from the rest of the season means that the team should be in with a great chance to show its professionalism and help drivers Balfe and Nigel Taylor move closer to the title.
The two-hour endurance race around the Grand Prix Circuit de Catalunya is something the whole team and both drivers are looking forward to. However, Balfe is approaching this race in the same way he has all season, with the main aim to be on the pace throughout the race weekend.
"It's great to be in with a chance to lift the overall Spanish title, but we didn't set out to win the title or expect to be in this position when we started the season," admits Balfe.
"We didn't think that we would be competitive against the Spanish teams at the start of the year. We've had some luck with our results but the team has always worked incredibly hard to give Nigel and myself a car that we can drive hard in every race," he said. "We've had to work hard and learn how the Spanish run their series. It's certainly not been plain sailing," he added.
It has been a tough but enjoyable season for the Balfe squad. A coupe of dips back into the British series has seen the team - who finished runner-up in 2003 -- be competitive against some of the latest N-GT class machinery, while taking the battle to more powerful and established teams in Spain.
The Barcelona race will see the team return to the track where it took second place, in a 'toe-in-the-water' exercise, in the Spanish series last season. Although, Balfe took on the role of team manager at last year's race. It will be team-mate Taylor who will be the driver with track experience, after being part of the driver line-up 12 months ago.
"I suddenly remembered halfway through the year that I hadn't actually driven on the circuit at Barcelona!" said Balfe. "We've got data from the circuit and how the car performed there last year, which makes a change as we've been going to each circuit and starting from scratch all season. I'll be grilling Nigel for the right lines before we go out on track too," he added.
The team will be hitting the track on Thursday afternoon for pre-event testing before the two-hour race in Sunday afternoon.