I hope if you’re reading this you will agree that it has been too long since my last column. So much has happened in the last few months, some of it fantastic, some of it terribly tragic.
It’s difficult because many have written about the heartbreaking circumstances at Le Mans a few weeks ago, and I don’t want to be perceived as belabouring the awful accident that befell top GT driver Allan Simonsen. But I feel strongly that we mustn’t steer away from talking about it over the coming weeks, months or even years. First and foremost I feel this way because it is important that Allan is remembered for what he was: a fantastic driver who was part of the small brotherhood of drivers who are fortunate enough to earn their living from their passion. Few were more passionate about driving sports cars than Allan.
Secondly it is also very important that the motor sport world, and the sports car world in particular, continue to openly discuss what happened and take measures to avoid the same thing happening again. Yes, all of us who earn our living from motor sport accept that it can be dangerous, and occasionally freak accidents will inevitably happen with tragic consequences. However, that doesn’t mean that we should not be constantly striving to minimise how often these accidents occur and putting pressure on the various organising bodies to take action to increase safety at all tracks all around the world. Already moves are afoot to organise a GT and LMP drivers committee to represent drivers’ safety concerns to such organisations as the ACO and FIA, and I very much welcome this as until now this has been something very rarely seen outside of Formula 1.
Finally, I have been incredibly moved by how much the whole sports car fraternity has come together in the wake of what happened. To my mind, Porsche’s advertisement review of Le Mans summed it up best: ‘There were many bright moments, however they were all overshadowed… In memory of Allan Simonsen, Le Mans will never forget him.’
It almost seems irrelevant now to talk about insignificant things like race results, so I’ll just quickly summarise the season so far.
At RAM Racing we have had a great start to the season, starting with pole position at the opening European Le Mans Series round at Silverstone, taking second and third places in the race. We went one better at the second round at Imola to win the race with my superb team-mate Matt Griffin, and lead the European GT championship driver and team standings.
I was also fortunate to be asked to lead the HVM Status LMP2 entry at Le Mans, but even aside from all of the above it proved a difficult race and I can honestly say I was relieved to drive out of the circuit at the end, especially after my team-mate Tony Burgess escaped a big accident at the Porsche curves with just some bruising and a concussion.
Next up is the next round of the European Le Mans Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. I haven’t raced there since 1998 so it basically feels like I’ve never been there, but I’m hoping that the incredible RAM Racing Ferrari team will be able continue their winning ways.
I’ll let you know how it all goes next time.
Thanks for reading.