Spa: Jamie Derbyshire preview
Northamptonshire sportscar racer Jamie Derbyshire is all set to face the toughest and most grueling race of his GT career this weekend July 31/August 1), as the FIA GT Championship heads to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for the Proximus 24 ...
Northamptonshire sportscar racer Jamie Derbyshire is all set to face the toughest and most grueling race of his GT career this weekend July 31/August 1), as the FIA GT Championship heads to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for the Proximus 24 hours.
The Freespirit Automotive and Spirit Volkswagen Fleet Sales backed driver has been relishing the prospect of tackling his first round-the-clock GT race since the start of the year. The Lister Storm car he drives this season, with former champion Jamie Campbell-Walter, has just been shy of the sharp end of the grid during the first half of the season against the more modern Ferrari and Saleen cars.
However, the 24-hour race will give the crack Creation Autosportif team the chance to shine as the event is all about tactics, strategy and teamwork, as well as a fast pace. Derbyshire knows that in this race he could well see his first visit to the podium, or even race victory.
"I have been looking forward to Spa since the start of the season," said Jamie. "We know that the Lister isn't the quickest car overall on the grid, but we have scared a few people with our pace and results so far this year and the 24-hours means that we are kind of on a level playing field."
"Everyone has to get to the finish and it is just as hard for our rivals as it is for us. We've got a great driver squad lined up for this race and I can't wait to take to the track in the car," he added.
Derbyshire suffered disappointment at the previous round at Donington Park when a gearbox problem forced the team out of the race. His aim was for a strong result at his home event and the frustration of not taking the fight to the rest of the grid there means that he is fired up to take a good result.
"Spa is one of the few circuits on the FIA GT calendar that I have already raced before and I love it. I know that I will be up to speed from the first session so we can get straight down to work on the set-up of the car for the race. We mean business this weekend and want the best result possible," he said,
The long and flowing nature of the Spa circuit means that it is always a favourite for drivers. The changing weather can always play a part in the races there too. However, the speed difference between the classes of cars means that back-markers and slower drivers can also cause problems for the quicker cars. The added element of driving into darkness will mean that there is more for Derbyshire to contend with than at a normal race.
"We close in on the N-GT class Porsches and Ferrari's pretty quickly anyway, but obviously when it gets dark it gets a lot harder to find the right racing line and deciding which way to go past can be tricky as you might not be able to see something that is on the circuit. The weather will just add to that difficulty, but, it is something that everyone has to get on with and it adds to the excitement for both the drivers and the fans," he said.
Derbyshire will be at the circuit from the middle of the week, with a drivers parade and autograph session taking place in the town of Spa on Wednesday before the first free practice session on track on Thursday morning at 11:00am. The race will get underway at 4:00pm on Saturday afternoon.