Debriefing the champ

It’s been quite a debut season for James Baldwin, and it even ended with him giving Button tips


Jakob Ebrey

The look on James Baldwin’s face said it all as he exited the Jenson Team Rocket RJN truck after qualifying. He had that cloudiness to his expression that suggested something surreal had just happened. And it had. For, at the final race of his maiden GT3 season, he’d just debriefed a Formula 1 world champion.

“Silverstone was just surreal,” he says. “We shared all the data between the cars and debriefed together. So on one side there’s Michael and I, and across the table is Jenson Button, and he’s asking me questions – like, ‘Where are you braking for that turn? And how hard are you braking?’ I’m just sat there thinking, ‘But you’re Jenson Button… what in the world can I possibly tell you?’ It was one of those pinch-yourself moments. When he first walked into the garage I was pretty starstruck, but by the end of the weekend we were getting on well and chatting like mates. It’s been brilliant to have him here.”

In contrast to Button and Buncombe, Baldwin and O’Brien scored a podium at Silverstone, which was enough to secure them fourth in the British GT points.

“It’s been an amazing year,” Baldwin adds, “but it’s also bittersweet as we had the potential to do a bit better in the championship. But for my first year, I’ll take it and see what 2021 will bring.”