Ben Foessel: I was stuck behind a Ferrari 458 – you wouldn’t expect that!

Ben Foessel crosses the line to take second in class at the Australian GT opener
Ben Foessel crosses the line to take second in class at the Australian GT opener

We caught up with Motor School Racing’s Ben Foessel as he started his Challenge Class title defence at the 2014 Australian GT Championship.

The Porsche driver scored two-second place finishes in class in the two, one-hour races.

Foessel was thrilled with his result over the weekend after a difficult start to the weekend.

“I was running with Geroge, my father over the weekend and he was meant to go out in Practice 1 but it was red flagged so he didn’t get much of a chance to get a rhythm,” Foessel said.

“I went out in practice two – I was a little slower than I hoped.  After the practice sessions though we really looked at where we were going wrong.  After sitting down with Simon Wills, our data engineer, we were able to make some changes that allowed us to go much faster.

“In qualifying we were two seconds faster than in practice and I was able to keep setting personal bests throughout the weekend.”

That qualifying effort set the team up perfectly for the first race. George would start the race, with Ben jumping into the car at the compulsory pitstop.

When Ben jumped into the car, they were lying second in class, with a gap to the class leaders of Brendon Cook and Matt Kingsley.  A string of superb laps, including their fastest race lap on lap 42 would bring them in shouting distance, but in the end Ben had to settle for second in class.

“We were almost a full lap down after the pitstop but I was able to claw my way back, which I was quite happy with.”

Race two was another strong one for Ben, despite a difficult start and being hampered by traffic.

“I had to fight to get past Brendon after the start which wasn’t in the plan.  Once I did that I was held up by traffic – surprisingly it was a Ferrari 458 GT3.

“You wouldn’t expect that!

“It was quite a tricky situation to get past him as he was much faster down the straights but I was quicker through the corners.

I was able to get past him and handed over to dad for the second half of the race.  It was a great fight with the other Porsche and the Trophy class Ascari but they got us in the end.”

Overall it was a strong start to the season for a driver that had never raced at Sandown in the past.

“It was good to start in that way, a new track and stepping up from the 996 to a 997 for the season, we are on track for another great year.”

The next round will be a 101-lap endurance event at Phillip Island on May 24-25.

“I am looking forward to the endurance race – I am working hard on my fitness and we hope to develop the car a little before the next round.”

GT Challenge points after round 1

1. Brendan Cook/Matt Kingsley (110 points)
2. Ben Foessel/George Foessel (92)
3. Indiran Padayachee (77)

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Ben Foessel prepares for battle
Ben Foessel prepares for battle


By Sam Tickell,  April 2014

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