While there has been a small gap in the ADAC GT Masters calendar, rising Australian star Aidan Read has been busy putting his time to good use. In addition to his preparations for the forthcoming fourth round of the championship at Circuit Zandvoort, Aidan has been busy in his coaching and mentoring role in Malaysia.
As well as competing in the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters championship, Aidan travelled to Sepang to complete the first laps in Eurasia Motorsport’s brand new Ligier JS P217 and then coach Nobu Yamanaka, his Asian Le Mans Series teammate from last year.
At the mid-point of the ADAC season, Aidan is now all set for his trip to the Netherlands where he will compete once again alongside Marvin Dienst in the Mercedes AMG GT3 Schütz Motorsport entry.
Aidan leads the Junior classification with 97.5 points, 8.5 clear of his nearest rival and with back-to-back events at Zandvoort and Nurburgring, it’s a crucial time of the season for the Perth racer.
Aidan reflects on his season to date:
Q) How was the LMP2 test programme in Malaysia recently that you took part in alongside Nobu Yamanaka and Nick Cassidy?
“The test was a success so credit to everyone involved with the P2 running faultlessly. Being the latest specification, it was a step up in terms of pure speed and downforce, so it was a real thrill to be driving and coaching, completing more than 1000km over the two days.
“It was really encouraging to see Nobu transition up to LMP2 seamlessly and impress with his performance. I had a great opportunity myself to do a lot of running, setting reference points and providing setup feedback. Also, I met Nick Cassidy at the test and was able to drive alongside him and work together which was a privilege.”
Q) You’re at the mid-point of the ADAC season, what are your thoughts on the season to date as a whole?
“ADAC GT Masters is the most competitive championship I’ve raced in. I expected this and it’s why I joined the championship. I’ve faced more challenges in the space of three races than ever before and there has been high pressure!
“It has all been positive though in terms of my career development and it has given me a wide range of experience. Our results so far have been strong overall and we are leading the Junior trophy. My highlights have been the two Junior Podiums in Oschersleben and Most.”
Q) This is your first season of competition in Europe, lots of classic circuits to learn, what has struck you most about competing at circuits like the Red Bull Ring?
“The biggest changes for me coming to Europe is the depth of the competition, the special complexity of the tracks and the mix of weather conditions. It has taken me time to adapt to and it is a hard challenge, but there is huge support for a series such as GT Masters and the culture around motorsport in Europe makes it a great place to come and compete!”
Q) The Mercedes is said to be one of the strongest GT3 packages – how have you adapted your driving style after so much time in LMP equipment?
“The Mercedes is a strong car and it is a very consistent performer. It has great potential and a good setup window, but like driving any car at the limit it has its own characteristics which a driver needs to understand.
“I’ve driven a lot of GT3 cars and LMP sportscars in the past, but the AMG is the first front engine car I’ve raced so I have had to adapt to that. I’m understanding it better all the time and taking in all the information I can so that I can consistently get the right feeling in the car.
“We know that when we get our execution right the Mercedes has the potential to win races at many tracks.”
Q) Finally, what are your expectations for Zandvoort – the classic John Hugenholtz circuit – and the second half of the season?
“From my preparation so far, I expect Zandvoort to be an exciting track, but also very specialist and unforgiving. It has a reputation of being an ‘old school’ circuit, which I am sure I will enjoy. I need to work hard as always to learn the track as quickly as possible and build confidence, then shift focus to qualifying performance and executing perfect races from there.
“For the second part of the season, we aim to make consistent points and take personal best results. Winning the Junior Trophy is also a good target and I think we can do it if we keep up the performance.”