JONNY COCKER'S ALMS DIARY
Drayson Racing's Jonny Cocker reports from the British team's success at Road America and looks forward to their homecoming race at Silverstone for the Autosport 1000kms this weekend.
“It was absolutely fantastic to get a win at Road America last month. I guess we hoped it would happen this year but no one genuinely really expected it so soon. It was not a surprise because we obviously know that we are more than capable but everything had to be right and it was a terrific achievement for everyone involved in Drayson Racing.
At the point where I came in to the pits for the fuel stop near the end I was kind of unsure where everybody was when I came out of the pits. When I came in (to the pits) I saw Klaus (Graf) and David (Brabham) go past, I was just wondering whether those guys were out of sequence and they needed to do another stop but near the end of the race I thought yes we are definitely racing these guys on track, so first time I got out of the pitlane, I knew that I had to go absolutely flat out because we knew they had at least one stop less than us. So it was always going to be a case of trying to past, get a massive margin to try and hopefully come out in front of them after the final stop. We didn’t quite manage to do that but we had enough and had the pace in the Lola-Judd LMP to get past them as well.
I didn’t need telling what needed to be done in the final laps. I am not somebody who would respond well to somebody telling me to push because I am always pushing to the maximum. We were just getting split times on the radio and what I prefer is Dale (White, Drayson Racing Team Manager) on the radio giving me these split times to the other cars so that I can monitor it myself.
When I caught the Porsche, I saw that he had a poor run out of the Carousel and then also got held up at the Kink and it was enough to get me right up his rear wing for Canada Corner because I got a very good run through those corners. I guess he was unlucky with the traffic and that then forced him into a little mistake so that I then got enough to get a bit of a run on him into the penultimate turn and managed to dive directly inside. It was really close but it was a calculated risk and it just had to be taken.
As soon as I crossed the line I just said well done to everybody. I think it’s as much a relief to get our first win as much as anything and it was pure excitement for everybody the way it happened. Paul (Drayson) was over the moon. Everybody has done a fantastic job. We knew that it’s really important that Paul stayed in the lead, he did a really good job at the start of the race and without that I wouldn’t have been able to do it at the end, so it’s easy to overlook Paul’s efforts based on what happened during the race but you have got to bear in mind that if I would have been handed the car one second further back, then we probably wouldn’t have won it, so that’s what I said to Paul after the race to really thank him for the job he did out there.
No sooner had we washed the champagne out of our overalls we were heading just over the border for the only Canadian event of the year at Mosport Park. It proved to be a tough weekend and it ended in a really unfortunate way with an incident with Luke Hines in a GT2 Porsche.
We got onboard footage from our car, which shows that I didn’t put any steering input in and it was just a really unfortunate incident that can occur at any stage during a busy race. Obviously the important thing is that Luke is okay and we discussed it sensibly after the race. It’s never nice to be involved in an accident but we have to get over it now and look forward to racing in the UK for the only time this year in our home event at Silverstone.
The circuit configuration will be new for most of us so again it’s going to be a little bit of a learning process for us. To race at a track within a couple of your home will feel a bit different. I can do with a break from a bit of flying! I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s a great opportunity for us as a team to back up what we have done in the American Le Mans Series and make sure that we really establish ourselves in Europe as well because that’s important. I am also really looking forward to meeting lots of British race fans there too who I am sure will be supporting Drayson Racing."