Ready, set, Sebring start The weeks since the Autosport Show in January have been both busy but slow to pass, if you know what I mean. Busy testing for SEAT, but the weeks waiting to race again have been going SO slowly! I had my...
Ready, set, Sebring start
The weeks since the Autosport Show in January have been both busy but slow to pass, if you know what I mean. Busy testing for SEAT, but the weeks waiting to race again have been going SO slowly!
I had my first run in the new SEAT Leon in Albacete, Spain a few weeks ago which went very well. At the time the team only had one of the new cars available so I shared the 4-day test with Jason Plato, basically getting the second of the four days to acclimatise myself to front-wheel drive touring cars. I really enjoyed getting to know the team and my new engineer, Nick Clipson, and thought the car handled really well. I was surprised at its behaviour and responsiveness, with the biggest difference to what I'm used to probably being the difference in power.
Before I go off to the 12 Hours of Sebring next week for Aston Martin I've got another test with the SEAT team in Estoril, Portugal. This will give me a further chance to get to know the car better before the start of the season. At this stage it's track time that I need to hone my technique in this type of car.
I can't wait to get back to Sebring where, of course, we had such a great result last year - winning on the DBR9's racing debut. It's always hard when you haven't been racing for nearly four months but I know the minute I get back behind the wheel it will feel like I've never been away. For the first time I'll actually be driving with, instead of against, Tomas Enge and I'm looking forward to driving with our other new team mate, Nicolas Kiesa. Preparation for Sebring this year has been limited, and I haven't driven the DBR9 in anger since the Laguna race in October. Our biggest change for 2006 is that we will be running on Pirelli tyres instead of Michelin, and that we have a few new faces within the team such as Kiesa and Jason Bright from Prodrive's Aussie V8 team, FPR.
As far as the competition is concerned, our greatest challenge will once again be Corvette who were very strong at the end of last season and will , without doubt, have improved over the winter. Having said that, you can never anticipate what will happen in the Sebring 12 hour race. This time last year our expectations were certainly not of victory, but the race itself and the circuit can throw anything and everything at you. Good or bad. Whatever happens, it will be great preparation for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.