LINDBOM SETS HIS SIGHTS ON GP3
KRISTIAN Lindbom is ready to chase his European dream, following his two-day GP3 test with Tech 1 Racing at Jerez in Spain last week.
As revealed by eNews a fortnight ago, Lindbom is in talks about a development series program for 01, rumoured to
be centered around Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. However, he may be prepared to risk it all chasing his dream to race in Europe – if he can find the backing to do a GP deal.
“It all depends on money,” Lindbom told eNews.
“If I’m going to drive a GP car again, it will be because of I’ve done a deal with a team for the season.
“There are options, and I am speaking to people. I can’t pay for it myself, I need to find a serious backer, who understands the sport and what’s going on.
“It’s hard to approach people, because on the surface I’m just a guy who finished 0th in a test. But if you talk to the team, they’ll tell you it’s not magic. They were actually impressed. Even I thought it was a bad result, until the team told me how hard it is to
get on the pace in a GP car. I’m only a few more days of testing away from the pace, realistically.
“I’ll look for the money in Australia. I’ll pitch to some people, and get a sense of direction on where to go.”
While Lindbom is keen to live out his dream of racing overseas, he is mindful that a good V8 Supercar program might be the most realistic option for the future.
“There are options in V8 Supercars, and they are good options, but my dream has
always been to go and race in Europe. If there is any chance, I’ll do that. But I don’t want to do that without looking at the
big picture. I’ve got to be careful with my decision-making, and weigh up my options every day.”
Lindbom has recently launched an online fundraiser to help fund his 01 plans; head to http://www.kristianlindbom.com/ onlinefundraiser/ for more details.
– ANDREW VAN LEEUWEN
LINDBOM: TURNING A DREAM INTO REALITY
For a long time, Kristian Lindbom has dreamed of racing in Europe. Last week, he took a step closer
to that dream, testing for GP3 team Tech 1 racing at Jerez in Spain. Here, in his own words, is
VERYTHING about the test was challenging. The thing I found the most difficult was
how competitive it is in Europe. Everything is competitive, even the way people act. It goes down to every little detail.
It was quite overwhelming, only because I was quite underprepared in terms of miles in a GP car. The only experience I’ve had in any car in the recent past has been either in a V8 Supercar, or in my road car!
Suddenly I was at a brand new track, driving a car with heaps
of tyre grip and downforce through high-speed corners. As soon as I was going over 00km/h, it felt like I had 10 times as much grip as anything I’ve every driven, especially a V8 Supercar, and even a Formula car. It was a completely different realm. It was only in two or three corners that the car felt familiar
– the slower corners – but even then it wasn’t the same. It was overwhelming, to be honest.
It was like the first time I ever hopped into a racing car.
Even on the installation lap, the speed was overwhelming, because I’ve been out of a car for a while. It came down to the
roughness of a racing car; I’ve become used to road cars with leather seats! I got back in the GP car, and wow …
You can’t expect perfection straight away. On the first installation lap, I was trying to be perfect, I was trying to get everything right. But realistically, you have to rough it out for a
bit and get used to the car. Then you can switch to the aggressive mode that you need to drive one of these cars fast.
The V8 Supercar isn’t like
that. It’s so easy to overdrive a V8, whereas you have to drive the GP car so hard – and once you’re doing that you’re still two seconds off the pace, so you have to drive that hard again. You can’t have a concept of how hard you have to drive the car until you experience the tyres.
It’s a difficult tyre to work with, the Pirelli. It’s basically the same tyre as they use in Formula 1; it’s the same compound, the walls are very soft – to put it into basic terms, I just haven’t had the miles to be on it straight away. The first day I was essentially just acclimatising.
On that first day, I also realised I wasn’t strong enough. I was
up against 16-year-old kids who were tiny – they looked like little kids – but they were stronger than me. If we went head-to- head on weights at the gym,
I’d smoke them, but they are stronger in the right areas. This isn’t a gym, it’s a racing car.
Once I was over that hurdle, it was about getting used to the car. The track itself wasn’t that hard, it’s a fairly easy track. But it’s a strange car. The way you drive it is the complete opposite of anything I’ve ever driven before.
You always learn to hold the brake, get into the corner, and hold the brake pressure right
to the apex, to keep the weight on the front tyre. Then, you
feed the power on to get out
of the corner. But in this thing, you have to get off the brake as soon as you possibly can. You rush the corner. You get off the brake and turn. If you did that in another racecar, you’d just get massive understeer.
You have to turn hard, too. If you get off the brake and don’t turn, it won’t work. If you’re on the brake too long, it won’t turn. It doesn’t make sense. It took until the third set of tyres for me to learn that.
Up until that point, I’d been making a few tenths on the new tyre, but it wasn’t enough. So, I got to the middle of one of the corners, and got off the brake. I thought I was going to go into the wall, but it worked.
I went out for another lap, on worn tyres, and went 1.
seconds faster. If I’d gone for a new set of tyres then, I would have been on the pace. I went into the pits to get new tyres, and the engineer wanted to look at the data. I wanted to go straight back out, because I knew what to do, but they insisted we looked at data.
We did that, it all made sense, I hopped back in the car, and it started raining. That was it.
I saved those tyres for the
last session, but there were too many red flags to get enough heat in the tyres. I tried to go too hard on cold tyres with a few laps to go and went off, into the gravel. That was the end of the session for me.
I learnt a lot. It’s taught me that I could compete with the guys over there.
I’ve always had a few issues in a racecar, like getting the gain out of the new tyre. In Formula Ford, that was my weak point. But getting to test – that was my first test in three years – gave me a chance to try things out. I put all of my theories into practice, and I think I fixed those issues.
That will make me a stronger driver in anything I drive from now on.