Blancpain Endurance Series Paul Ricard
It's fantastic to be back racing again and it's good to be in a championship as tough as the Blancpain Endurance Series with a great car and team. JMB Racing are based at Paul Ricard and have a rich history of sportscar racing. They are running the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in French GT and I'm also doing the Nurburgring round of the BES with them. As I was new to Paul Ricard, I got a few laps in the bronze driver session on Saturday morning to familiarise myself with the track. During the afternoon sessions, we worked on the car setup making progress all the time but still with some work to do. Overnight the engineers worked hard and made some changes to the car which transformed it.
In the first qualifying session, JMB Racing's Nicolas Misslin was fifth quickest which was a great start to the day. I was next up in qualifying 2 and on my first flying lap I went over 1.5 seconds faster than I'd been all weekend. The time came quite easily and I could have gone quicker but for a small mistake on my quick lap which cost me a few tenths. The time was good enough for P7 in the session, fastest Pro Am car by over a second and top Nissan.
Nicolas Marroc started the car in 31st position and made his way up to 22nd when he came in a little early with ominous signs of water under the car. The underside of the car had been damaged by the kerbs and this had in turn damaged the radiator. The team worked hard to get the car back out but it turned out that the damage was worse than it first seemed, so the car was retired. A very disappointing end to a promising weekend but I was pleased with my pace on my first visit to the track, the car and team were fantastic and I’m looking forward to working with them again at the Nurburgring.