No need for motor sport in the Olympics
I read something the other day that suggested the Olympic Games should include motor sport. Frankly, I think that’s a daft idea. There are so many amazing motor sport championships plus huge events such as Le Mans, the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Those are the moments when the world turns its eyes to our sport. The Olympics is the moment in the spotlight for athletics, swimming, gymnastics: all those amazing people who can run faster, swim faster, throw shapes better and generally perform super-human feats. Motor sport shouldn’t come in and dilute that in any way.
Those competitors work so hard to be on peak form every four years and it is a great spectacle. On that note, I don’t think tennis or golf should be in there as they already have huge, global trophies. Keep it simple and stick to the original format, I say! My theory falls down a bit when it comes to cycling as that needs to remain an Olympic sport, even though they have the Tour de France. All those different disciplines make for great viewing.
The best bit about the Olympics is that it happens when the motor sport schedule is quiet, so we actually get to watch it. Brazil has done a great job, but these Games have also put London 2012 into perspective. That really set a new level. It has been amazing to watch people such as Adam Peaty get our first swimming Gold, although the papers need a rap on the knuckles for referring to Dan Goodfellow as ‘Tom Daley’s synchronised partner.’ Give the lad the credit he’s due!
One of the highlights of the year for me is the upcoming Goodwood Revival and I’ve already been down to the circuit to test the AC Cobra I’ll be driving. It’s one of those places that feels magical as soon as you go under the tunnel into the circuit. There were lots of beautiful cars and I also got to drive a very special Ford GT40 from the 1960s, which was a ‘pinch me’ moment. I might not be racing an Aston Martin at the Revival but I’ll still be very close to the brand as Carroll Shelby was the man behind the Cobra and shared Aston’s only outright Le Mans victory with Roy Salvadori.
The last month has been busy for me with lots of racing, which is just how I like it. We had some fun at the Nürburgring in the World Endurance Championship. My new team-mate Richie Stanaway did a great job, taking second place in the opening stint. Unfortunately there was a bit of argy-bargy, so our first pitstop was somewhat prolonged as we had to deal with the fact that one of the wing mirrors was hanging off. This put us down the order but it was another entertaining race and it felt good as the recent Balance of Performance changes have meant we could be more competitive than we had been so far this year.
I also got to do the Spa 24 Hours, which is always full of drama. I get parachuted into the customer teams for races like this, when they need another driver. It can all be a bit last-minute, but having been around the cars for so many years I’m very at home in them. Unfortunately a bit of damage in the opening hours put paid to a good result, but we were leading at the six-hour mark and took full points at that stage. It was fun, though, probably the most competitive GT3 race out there and it’s a hard event – you generally feel like you are in a Mad Max movie when you are at the wheel.
There was some controversy at Spa when all of the Mercedes entries got hit hard with a five-minute stop-go penalty after qualifying [for running illegal ignition mapping]. Whether or not that was deserved, you had to respect the organisers for sticking to their guns, saying that the situation wasn’t acceptable and making a point. We need to see more of that in the sport. If something is wrong it shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet.
I’m now preparing for the next WEC round, which is in Mexico City and I’m massively excited about my first visit to this country. I’ve got my sombrero and my maracas and I’m ready to go! [God help them… – Ed]