After getting back from holiday bright and early on Saturday, I spent my Sunday catching up with the Monaco Grand Prix, as my friend Oliver Rowland was competing in the GP2 events.
Oliver and I are both part of a programme called the Racing Steps Foundation (RSF), which sponsors young drivers and motorcycle racers, helping us to develop careers our sport. I joined the RSF when I was twelve, so I've been with them for nearly nine years now. Training with the foundation for so long has meant that we've all become a bit of a family, so we always keep up to date on each other's races throughout the season. My manager from the RSF will actually be coming down to the track at Le Mans to see how I do... but I'm not too sure if he'll be able to keep awake for the whole 24 hours though!
On Monday I was straight back into my training regime; so I was out on the road bike to burn off the calories from my holiday in Cyprus the week before. Although I had made a conscious effort to keep fit while I was away it's important that I return to my strict diet and workout as soon as I'm home, because my weight as a driver can really impact the performance of the car.
Today I'm busy with simulator training, doing some development work for an F1 team. I've just finished driving the run at Monaco for a correlation test - which is where the team apply what they've learnt from the weekend, for me to test out on the simulator. We then look to see if these lessons can be applied to the track, to help the team fine tune their performance for next time.
The simulator is as close as you can get to the real thing, but of course you don't get the fear of making a mistake or crashing. At Formula One level you do get a chance to see how the car would behave and practice the techniques you would use on the track; whereas when you're in the lower level categories you notice that their simulators don't have the same funding behind them to develop an experience in quite the same way.
On Thursday I'll be on the simulator again but this time it will be for preparation for Le Mans. I'll be doing quite a few hours to help me prepare mentally and get used to the track before my debut. Because Le Mans is a street circuit, I've only been able to drive the rack in a simulator before, because it would be impossible to drive around in a racing car outside of testing or the race itself. Although I don't have the experience of some of the other seasoned drivers, everyone starts out as a rookie, so it's just my turn this year.
My time in the simulator has prepared me well though, my favourite part of the track is definitely the last sector - as the final part includes some real high speed corners which link together and can prove a bit of a challenge, especially when you're going at about 140mph! This part of the circuit is also meant to be amazing at night time, so I'm really looking forward to getting there.
On Friday morning at 3am I'll be waking up and driving down to the Eurotunnel with the team's physio to drive to Le Mans together. It's going to be a long old drive, about eleven hours in total, so although I'm excited, it will be good to get the journey over and done with. With just under three weeks now until the race, things are really getting exciting...so make sure you stay tuned to keep up to speed with all the action from me and the team as the countdown really begins.
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