I also interviewed racing driver, Jann Mardenbrough for the College Times December 2014 issue. The editor decided to go with the Rob Smedley interview over this interview for the published edition.
- What is it like racing in the Le Mans 24 Heures considering that most people associate Le Mans 24 Heures with experienced racing drivers due to the skill that is needed especially in the darkness at night?
A: Le Mans is my favourite race because of the darkness that comes with 24hours. Also the fact it’s a public roads most of the year, so blitzing down Mulsanne doing 190mph while passing road signs is unique. To be able to race in the dark at the same speed as daylight does require lots of preparation, something which Nissan and GT Academy provide for me.
- What are your thoughts on life as a GP3 driver?
A: Great! I’m on a career path that I didn’t expect to be on after winning GT Academy a competition sponsored by Nissan and Sony). I’m in a junior championship two levels below F1. That’s pretty cool. The opportunity Nissan gave me to develop has worked; I’ve learnt lots this year in GP3.
- How easy is it to adapt to driving GP3 cars from proper sport cars?
A: It’s totally a different driving style. Driving with downforce always is going to require a different style. The main thing to get used to in the GP3 car is the tyres. In GT racing the races are much longer, so car preservation is a role a driver must pay attention to. Small stuff like tyre degradation has a big effect at the end of a long race. In GP3 we are more or less flat out for around 17 laps depending on the circuit length.
- In Germany you became the first winner of the sprint race at Hockenheim to definitely not be able go on and take the championship because in the past years, whoever won the sprint race at Hockenheim has gone on to win the GP3 championship that year so how do you look at that fact because some people may look at that positively as foreshadowing for the near future or others would just ignore it?
A: I ignore it. I take each race as it is and don’t look at stats like that. Some people do and find comfort, but for me I don’t. Each race is different and is treated the same with the same preparation. How would you sum up your 2014 season? A: I’ve ticked 2 main boxes I wanted to achieve this year so all good. I’ve improved in my weak areas and developed into a better racing driver because of it. I had another 2 races in Abu Dhabi left to get the 3rd one done. Working with Arden has been fantastic.
- What are your long term ambitions for next year and beyond considering that GP2 are going to be introducing DRS next year?
A: Long term ambitions are I want to be still racing for Nissan professionally until I’m grey and old! For the short term I’d love to continue in single seaters for next year, developing more as a driver and challenging for podiums and victories.
- Why should people watch the lower feed series to F1 because some fans may have younger siblings who don’t think that GP3 isn’t worth watching because it isn’t a well-known sport like F1?
A: People should watch the feeder series as we all have a point to prove to people and racing teams. We fight for every position and every point. Our races are short and don’t have as many races in a year as F1. All the reason why we fight so hard with each other. The last 2 laps of a GP2 or GP3 race are always full or drama and unpredictable events. Take the last round at Sochi in GP3 for example.