BLOG: A New Season, A New Website

Feb 12th, 2017

Hello one and all, thank you for reading.

2017 marks the start of a new chapter, a new season and a fresh start. For those of you who know me and followed me over the last few years, you’ll have seen some progress in the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship. In 2015 I moved over into the Porsche GB Championship, and had a bit of a dodgy year. I chose what I thought would be the team to help me go and win the title, but it just didn’t materialise, and I ended up finishing in places outside the top 5. I don’t think I ever saw the top 4 or 5 drivers in the first part of the season. Yes of course, there were some mistakes on my part, and I don’t deny that. But we just didn’t have any pace over the 12 races, and 6 race weekends that we did together. So, I decided for the last two races that I would move to a team called GT Marques. They needed a driver to go and win, and I needed to prove that in another car I could go and win… In hindsight, and when I think about it, there was a lot of pressure on those last two rounds, everyone was looking at me wondering what I would do in a different car. I say different car, for those who know Porsche Carrera Cup, it’s a single make series, where all the cars are actually the same. We can’t change anything really, other than the set up of the car. Things like tyre pressures, suspension settings and geometry settings. So we’re looking for small margins. Thankfully, the change in 2015 was a good one and I went on to win both races at Silverstone that weekend, as well as taking a lap record. It was such an amazing feeling to jump in win quite comfortable, it has to be said. I felt good again, I felt alive again, I felt reborn. I went on to finish that season with a pair of 3rd places at Brands Hatch and a fastest lap, which when you look at the results over the first 6 rounds, it was an incredible turnaround.

We then took that form into 2016. We resigned with GT Marques and continued our strong partnership. At the half way point, we had 3 wins and 7 podiums out of 8 races. We had 5 fastest laps out of 8 and we were looking very strong. Unfortunately, we didn’t win again, and neither did we get a fastest lap. I scraped a podium or two, but the form went and with it the speed and potentially the luck. It was very much a tale of two halves, and the fairy tale start to the season, ended us a Hollywood horror. As a small consolation, I hung on to 2nd place overall. But we just could not get the car working, no matter what we did. I seemed to fall backwards into the pack, as quite literally everyone else went forward. I started having to defend for 5th, 6th and 7th places again and the territory which felt all too familiar back in 2015, started to swallow me up. The car suffered with inherent oversteer, seemingly everywhere I went and there was nothing I could do about it.

I went away, thanked the team for their efforts, celebrated nonetheless for finishing in 2nd overall and for a strong first half of the year, and then started planning for 2017…
And we’re back. I watched a man called Nick Tandy won the 2015 Le Mans and envied the success of winning one of the hardest, if not the hardest race in the world. Nick Tandy is familiar with Porsche, and he’s just been announced as Porsche’s #1 Factory driver and will lead the LMP1 team into Le Mans and the WEC again this year. In short, he is one of the fastest men within the Porsche family right now, and he’s also my new team mentor.

I’ve known Nick for a little while and always knew of him. He started in the Carrera Cup GB 7 or 8 years ago I believe, and went on to European success before being picked up by Porsche as a factory driver. He’s a really down to earth guy and I’m looking forward to working with him this year. His team is called JTR and it’s their first season in Porsche Carrera Cup. They’ve competed in Formula Ford’s on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), so the team are familiar with the package. I spoke at length with Nick, and I know he wants to win and I know he’ll put out a very strong outfit. He wanted me to be a part of his first season in the category, and I very much wanted to join the team. We announced the deal at the Autosport Show in January, and we’re ready to kick start.

So that’s all the formal stuff out the way. What are my thoughts and feelings for this year?? Well, last year was good and then bad, and this year we just need it to stay good the whole way through! I’ll be taking out all the good bits from last year and looking to develop and evolve into this season. It’s going to be an exciting season, I can just feel it. My arch rival last year, Dan Cammish, is returning to the Championship, and will no doubt be trying to make it 3 titles. I cannot wait to reignite this battle. Everyone always asks me if I feel annoyed he’s returning, and I feel the opposite. I didn’t want him to leave the Championship! I wanted him to return and I want to beat him fair and square. He’s a class driver, but we more than matched him up to the half way point last year, and we’ll be obviously looking to rattle the man again. It was fun and I can’t wait for it this year again.

We have a few pre season testing days booked in for March, where we’ll look to shake the car down, get ourselves sorted and develop the set up on the car. I’ll hopefully have a good couple of team mates signed up alongside me, and altogether we can develop the set ups fast and start feeling confident in the 911 Cup Cars.

Of the commercial side; I’m delighted to announce my partnership with DMS LTD – who by the way, just let me out in their Porsche GT3 RS and Ferrari 458 Challenge cars at Silverstone yesterday. The must unreal cars to ‘blow away the cobwebs’, after not having driven a fast car for 4 or 5 months!! So thank you DMS LTD for letting me do that, and I’m excited to have them join the journey for this year. As well, Arbuthnot Latham are returning to be a part of the journey and I’ll be supported by Bristol Sport too. We’ve got some exciting brand sponsors coming on board shortly, and I’m looking forward to working with them on some really cool stuff this year.

I’ll be doing a lot of community work this year with the help of Bristol Sport. I’m a Bristol lad, and I love Bristol. So we’re going to be working with a local indoor Karting circuit to help inspire local children. I will also be visiting a lot of schools this year, giving talks and presentations to students. Plus, we’ll be potentially looking to tie up with a local Universities, to utilise my racing programme as a education practical for the students! So lots going on!

I’m going to be doing more charity work this year, and will be looking to do some cool stuff with GoInspire, which is led by Ben Conolly or ‘ChairWarrior’ as he calls himself on Instagram! An incredibly inspiring man and someone I’d be delighted to work with for years to come. More on that soon, but please visit ‘Go Inspire’ on Facebook if you want to find out more.

Apart from that, I’ll be keeping this website a lot more up to date and these blogs constantly updated! We’ve got a great team around me now who all help in different aspects. So please come back and visit to read about the racing and latest events we’re doing this year.

Thank you for reading, here’s to a successful year together!

#JoinTheJourney

DZ

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