VCARS Tom Sharp continued his strong start to the Ginetta GT SuperCup 2012 season at the weekend. In Race 10 and 11, Sharp finished third and fourth at a damp Oulton Park.
After four rounds, the results maintain Sharp’s lead at the top of the Ginetta GT SuperCup standings. The 20-year old driver is on 358 points, 91 clear of second placed Tom Ingram and 105 clear of third placed veteran Carl Breeze. Vcars.co.uk caught up with Tom to get his reflections on the Oulton Park race.
VCARs.co.uk So, you’ve won eight of the first nine races and finished second in the other. Third and fourth in Race 10 and 11, are you disappointed with that?
TS: No, I’m really not. Last year at Oulton Park, I finished 12th and 9th. I still have a healthy lead over the rest of the field, so this is not a time to panic. Look, I really, really tried to win the race, I’ll always do that, but it just wasn’t to be. Oulton Park is very twisting, turning track – similar in some ways to Monaco – and as such, the race is won or lost in qualifying. In my qualifying laps, the track went through a number of different weather conditions – from wet to greasy to dry. We’d set our tyres to be perfect in the wet after two laps and were ready to record a really fast time but the track got a little drier and we just couldn’t get round quick enough to get further up the grid. It’s just one of those things.
VCARs.co.uk You finished third on Saturday and fourth on Sunday. You started third on the grid and early in the race were clearly trying to get past second placed Carl Breeze. Do you regret being so aggressive? In attempting to get past Carl, Hunter Abbott nipped in and relegating you to fourth where you stayed for the rest of the race.
TS: There are people who suggest my driving style is a bit ambitious but it’s just the way I drive. I didn’t get into motor sport to just plod around the track. I want to make things as exciting as possible and win races with style. Sometimes, like at Oulton Park, I might pay a price for that but when people watch me race, I want them to be excited. It might be my age but if you can’t be an aggressive driver at 20-years old, when can you be?
VCARs.co.uk On the subject of plodding around, you and Hunter got stuck behind Carl Breeze for the bulk of the race. He really slowed things down, could you not get past him?
TS: No, and it wasn’t for the wont of trying. Carl drove an intelligent race, really slowing things down into the corners so neither Hunter or I could get around him. We couldn’t generate the downforce needed to get pick up speed and get around Carl. That what experience gives you I suppose, the knowledge of what to do when your car isn’t as quick as your competitors and Carl did that to perfection.
VCARs.co.uk It’s the Crofts circuit in a fortnight, how are you feeling about that?
TS: Crofts is where I won my first ever Championship race, so it’s a special place for me. There’s a lot more overtaking opportunities so it’s more exciting for spectators and drivers alike.
VCARS.co.uk How will you prepare for that race?
TS: Well, in some ways the preparation starts this week. I’m off to Le Mans on Wednesday as a guest of Ginetta. Le Mans is my long-term objective so I’m really excited about the opportunity to see the track first hand.
VCARS.co.uk So you’ll be in France tonight just a short while after tonight’s game, huh? Well, everyone has an opinion on the score, what’s yours?
TS: I don’t think it’s going to be good. I’ll be watching, obviously, but the very best I think we can hope for is a draw. Any more than that will be a big surprise. But here’s hoping.
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Catch all the action from Round Five of the Ginetta SuperCup from Croft Circuit Sunday 24th June on ITV4 from 11am until 6pm.