Next Stop: Spa
Mark’s preview to the second race of the 2014 WEC season
Spa is, without a doubt, one of the best races on the calendar and it is also one of my favourite tracks. It’s remained pretty much unchanged for a number of years now; it’s one of the classic tracks on the calendar and it has a lot of character. Of course Eau Rouge is the most famous part of the track, and where I’ve got good memories of racing wheel-to-wheel with Fernando.
To be honest, I can’t wait to get there after Silverstone. We were all so excited and keen to get the first race out of the way and pulling off a clean weekend with qualifying and the race, which went better than we expected. Going to Spa so soon after the first race is good for us to try and keep a bit of momentum.
Spa is actually a very famous venue for endurance racing and it has hosted some of the great classics there like the 1.000km of Spa. A track like that lets the sports car breath a little bit and you can really open them up and test them to their full potential.
Obviously we will have a lot less downforce than in an F1 car and the car is a bit heavier. I need to respect Eau Rouge more than ever because it became quite straightforward in an F1 car. I think the speed on the way in will be quite similar but to position the sports car will be a bit trickier through there.
I am certainly looking forward to seeing what the car is like in the middle sector where I will need to be a bit more patient, making sure that I keep a good rhythm and position the car. Having driven there in an F1 car for so many years at high speed, I’ve got to make sure that I build up my pace with the heavier car and lower down force. The top speed in the car should be very competitive, even competitive in relation to F1 and I think our car will be a bit more suited to Spa than it was to Silverstone.
The weather will play a role too, it looks like a cold weekend, but we could have a repeat of what we had at Silverstone and we have got to try and make all the right decisions again.
In Silverstone the dialogue in the team between all the drivers, the engineers and Weissach was phenomenal and we worked well together searching for areas in which to improve which is a no brainer as we’ve only done one race. There is a bit of excitement in the camp that we achieved a podium at our first attempt but we have our feet on the ground. We haven’t had two cars finish yet and we’d like to do that and get the 14 and 20 cars home.
I learnt a lot in my first WEC race. It was long time before I got into the car and there’s much I can do when the other drivers are out on track. It’s important for me not to be wasting too much energy on some of those areas where I know Timo and Brendon can do the job. It’s important to relax and make sure I am ready for when I am driving the car. Also I learnt a lot with the traffic and dealing with back markers, which was the first time I had to do that in anger. The amount of debris on the track was something else to get used to; there is a lot more debris in endurance racing than in F1. I also executed my first live pit stop and carried out a driver change with Brendon. Although these small things don’t sound much, they are quite important to get me up to speed.
David Wardropon April 28, 2014 Reply
Keep up the great work Mark!
John Warrenon April 28, 2014 Reply
Superb effort straight out of the box at Silverstone, especially considering the trying conditions. All the makings of a great comeback season for Porsche, and a great “switch” for Mark. Nice work!
Darryl Pitton April 28, 2014 Reply
Off to Spa this weekend for my first WEC race abroad, really looking forward to standing at the top of Eau Rouge and watching an LMP1 car through there at full chat! Best of luck this weekend.
Toddon April 28, 2014 Reply
Mark not only because you are an Australian as me I say this : I admire you not only as a Race Car Driver by the way you lead your life You are a MAN a real Man that when RED BULL did what they did you just PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN AND ASS UP and did your best when a lesser man would just have given up and resented the management . But my friend that iv never meet thank you for everything you have done for me without you showing me your humility in your darkest time racing Well anyway I owe you because of you I’m still here to write this THANK YOU For being there for me without you even knowing that with your action last year you saved me
Daniel jean-louison April 28, 2014 Reply
Great results mark. GREAT seeing a fellow Aussie doing so well. I started following your career since your first race for Minardi. You always put in the hard yards and it always pays off, your a brilliant driver and I especially love seeing you drive angry (Malaysian gp for Williams is one example). I’m glad you didn’t end your career after F1. Unfortunately I don’t get coverage of your 2014 races but I’m tracking your results online. (if there is a website that streams the races I would love to know). Good luck mate, your doing Australia and all your fans proud.
Scott Howarthon April 28, 2014 Reply
These insights are great, thanks for sharing. I wish I could watch it live, unfortunately, I don’t have pay TV. Good luck!
Beki Heathon April 28, 2014 Reply
Good luck & enjoy Mark!
Daniel Bringolfon April 28, 2014 Reply
Very interesting write up. All the best for the race and looking forward on hearing about the Spa race. If only I could see it on TV 🙁
Chris Hallon April 28, 2014 Reply
Great job Mark. I’m so happy for you, you deserve the success. I hope to see you winning in the wec. You were a great f1driver and now I look forward to following your progress in the wec with Porsche. Best of luck
Jill and Brianon April 28, 2014 Reply
All the very best for Spa Mark, we were there at Silverstone to see you and the guys drive a fantastic race in very difficult conditions. We know Spa is a track you love to race and wish you all the best. Good luck champ were with you every step of the way.
Jurison April 28, 2014 Reply
Best wishes to you your mates an PORSCHE togeather.i cant imagine best complectation as you in PORSCHE,this is highest motorracing point!Wish you to get 1-2 at SPA.
Pattyon April 28, 2014 Reply
Wish you all the best for your Spa Race. Glad you did well in Silverston. Sure wish that there was TV coverage in my area to see your races. I did follow the result online but it’s not the same. Looking forward to seeing your race in September in Austin. You are a great driver and glad to see you with a team that appreciates you.
Henrikon April 28, 2014 Reply
All the best for Spa! I will be there to support you and the team (LMP1 and LEGTE team).
Steveon April 30, 2014 Reply
Thanks for the insight to your adjustment from F1 to Sports car racing. We all knew there would be a adjustment but its great to see you give us valuable insight. Best of luck to your and your team this weekend.
Dina A.on May 1, 2014 Reply
Great drive, great podium finish at Silverstone Mark! Were there to support you.. Brilliant start into the new season, new venture, new challenge..
Now looking forward to this: favourite driver, favourite car, favourite track!
BEST OF LUCK CHAMP!!!
2 greeks flying the Aussie flag…
dianaon May 13, 2014 Reply
hi Mark, i miss you so much on tv watching F1, this year without you Seb is nothing anymore, you were the one helped him getting all those accolades, good to see Daneil is doing so well, i love you guys, all the best my darling , good looking mark.
TRICKOon May 15, 2014 Reply
Chuffed everything’s going well,watched silverstone on TV and must say doesn’t grip me as much knowing Mark isn’t in the drivers seat all the time .The prize giving was also rather of a let down as there was nobody there to cheer him on! Just staff not your man on the street nobody in the stands not a soul to be seen! I can’t help thinking its a bit of a come down from the spectacle that is f1 and NOT just for the supporters it must be a lovely feeling having the crowd go wild when you receive an award alas it wasn’t to be at silverstone!
Site Manageron May 16, 2014 Reply
Hi Tricko – Silverstone was actually pretty busy in terms of fan activity. Lots of people came out to support Mark and see the cars over the two days – in fact, the paddock walk was more of a paddock crush! The only problem was the torrential rain that stopped the race early and continued right through the podium celebrations. As the race finished I think people sensibly took shelter or made their way home to get dry! It’s a shame it came across deserted on TV.