It has been a few weeks since my last blog because, well , it's been mad! After the events of Gumball 3000 a couple months back, there was a long lead up working hard for the Le Mans 24hour race. It is a race that stands out as one of the best in the world along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500. I feel lucky enough to have raced on all three tracks.
Le Mans is a gruelling race lasting 24hours, shift driving with three team mates at speeds of 215mph+ come rain or shine. The lead up to Le Mans is filled with training and meetings with the race team, however this year I was lucky to also be able to compete in the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power event which I've won in the past in the BAC Mono. Always a fun event to see new and old friends and catch some air on that last jump!
I arrived at Le Mans the Monday of race week for the town scrutineering where we get to meet all the fans, do a bunch of press interviews and get our race kit and race cars checked out in the centre of town. Next up was days of testing and prep to get the car with all of its updates perfect and ready for the toughest race in the world.
All was looking good on the lead up to Qualifying but unfortunately a huge fire in practice caused so much damage to our car that we were unsure if we would even be able to start the race... Times were tense but the race team stayed up for 48 hours straight fixing the car until it was drivable again, a titanic effort.
Race day came, and the task at hand soon became apparent as our back up engine wasn't running well. The start of the race saw heavy rain and exciting overtakes and battles but as soon as the track dried up, our engine was struggling to keep up. Seventeen painful hours later of driving a car losing more and more power each lap, she blew up and whilst catching the leader in our category too. A painful way to end the biggest race in the world after having tasted the champagne on the podium in previous years.
What's the best solution for heartache in racing? Jumping back on the horse... or car in our case.
Next up was Goodwood Festival of Speed. A weekend full of the best cars from around the world with the best drivers all competing up a hill climb in a guy's fancy back garden! It was a great event, one which BAC Mono had been prepping for, for a long time to get the car perfect to win our category. We were fast all weekend but came 2nd just as the rain started to come down on our run, gutted! But great fun none the less - take a look at the onboard in the dry below!
Supercar Days is a company myself and a friend called Adam from Supecar Driver co-own and we run the most exclusive hypercar and supercar track days around Europe. This was our second day and it went down a storm. There is a video below where you can see what kind of cars we had there and how beautiful the weather was for us. It was also a chance to get out the razor drift karts and have some fun!
From there I went onto the F1 at Silverstone with some of my partners and guests for the weekend to show them around the Paddock and watch Lewis, our home hero, bring it home with the win. Always a fun weekend and to stay over in the British Racing Drivers Club campsite in a stunning motorhome thanks to JC Motorhomes was great. Even the girlfriend had a good birthday staying there!
To top off an eventful few weeks I took four days to 'relax' and adventure around the island of Mallorca - there is a video below with my vlog episode from that week where you can see some of the fun we had looking round. A friend Jon Olsson was also over there at the same time.
I didn't have long to relax though as I had to fly straight over to Germany for the six hours of Nurburgring race weekend, the last in our European legs of the championship before the fly aways.
This race weekend was going to suit us well with the downforce of the track. That soon became apparent as we lead some sessions and then qualified 2nd, we where delighted! The race start couldn't have gone better either, getting straight into the lead and staying there. Unfortunately a few hours in though with only 2 left to go... another fire in the car. This was a hard pill to swallow and is bugging me to my very soul now as I type on the plane on the way back to the UK. It's hard for us having waited so long after Le Mans to have a similar issue when being so competitive. I'm going to stay focused, keep busy, keep pushing and look onto the next round in Mexico!
Apart from the above misery in the races it's been a blast of a month or two! From Caudwell kids Butterfly Balls to Amir Khan Foundation, car events and BBC Media City Supercar Line ups.. we've had a good mix!
The next month leading up to the Mexico race, brings us track days around the UK, Chris Evans' Carfest Event, Santa Pod Raceway Event and some presenting work at BT Studios. Time to keep moving!
Ps- Meeting Brad Pitt was pretty cool!