It's been nye-on a year since I was behind the wheel of the fabulous Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car - and my goodness how I've missed it!
Let's rewind back just three weeks though when I was at home when I got the call. It was Simon Leonard at Redline Racing asking if I wanted to fill the open seat they had on offer for the second half of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2017 championship series.
"YES!" was my answer before Simon could even complete his sentence. So on to Snetterton for Rounds 8 & 9 and my first outing sinceBrands Hatch GP the end of the 2016 season.
I woke up this Wednesday feeling excited, just itching to get into the car for the official Porsche pre-event test.. It was reassuring to see my race mechanic and good friend Hubert Eimer who'd be looking after me and car number 3.
Zipping up my overalls, earplugs in, balaclava on, gloves on, helmet, seatbelts fastened...now it's all coming back to me.
Once out on track, the 460hp Cup car really picks up and the kick in your back from the acceleration reallyawakens all the senses. I quickly settled into a rhythm and tried a few different lines and techniques and it was great to be back racing.
The race weekend kicked off officially yesterday with two further practice sessions and time to shake off the remaining dust and retrain the brain to circulate around the thrilling Snetterton track reaching speeds up to 150mph again. I'd forgotten (briefly) the physicality and fitness required for racing. Don't get me wrong, I do love to stay fit and healthy and enjoy cycling (Including my new e-bike! (more on that one another time), but 10 months out of the seat is still 10 months and your muscles aren't used to coaxing this amazing race machine with the accuracy & precision that she commands.. You must remember no traction or braking aids here, just pure driving with man and machine.
There's a quite a few areas for improvement before qualifying later today and it has struck me just how quick and talented the other guys on the grid are. There were some seriously good lap times being traded to the point where some of the ProAm guys were right amongst the middle of the Pros during practice - talk about Fast & Furious!
How are the prospects for qualifying? We'll aim for the front of our ProAm1 class (we always will!) to set us up for the race. But to be realistic this weekend, it's going to be a challenge-and-a-half.
We'll be looking to string a few consistent & high quality laps together during the 30-minute session & will then asses our plans for the two races tomorrow.