Hi, I’m Dennis – and I’m fortunate to be sharing driving ‘duties’ with Martin Jensen in our Ferrari 458 GT3.
The beginning of 2012 was a crossroad for me personally on the racing front – as I moved from racing with Formula Racing in the Ferrari Challenge series and into new territory with Insight Racing – including a new car with downforce, new race format and new colleagues.
Making the move from Formula Racing was a difficult decision – we have shared a lot together; I had my debut with racing with Formula Racing in 2008 and we had 4 great seasons together in the Ferrari Challenge series – culminating in 2011 where we accomplished a win, multiple podiums and a 3rd place overall.
The atmosphere in the team was great and I got to be personal friends with the team. But after 2011 a handful of the ‘regulars’ of the team needed to move on and focus on personal matters.
I also felt that it was time to progress from the Ferrari Challenge series (mixed reasons – I might cover that another time) – and Formula Racing looked set for another season with Ferrari Challenge. So when Insight Racing, whom Martin had been racing for in 2010 in the US and whom he was now a committed driver for for 2012, put forward the idea of collaborating on a 2012 GT3 campaign, it was something I had to consider.
The choice felt like choosing between a known great environment with Formula Racing, but where the coaching part would be an unknown after Martin’s departure – or moving to an unknown environment and a huge personal challenge with Insight Racing (but with a known coach). The decision was not made easier by the friendships with the Formula Racing team – but I did go with the GT3 project, hoping that friends would understand.
My doubts about the GT3 project were not really about the capabilities of the Insight Racing team – I knew Martin had raced with them for a season in the GRAND-AM series in USA – the questions were more about myself; would I be able to handle endurance racing, driver changes or even the car ? – I knew that one of my weak points as a driver is that it takes me time to build confidence and speed – and in this setup it would be even more a team effort – more people to let down.
A couple of other former Ferrari Challenge drivers already were in the series and in GT3 cars – and they had been doing okay, so I hoped to be able to do the transition as well, and use them as a benchmark. It should turn out that I quickly needed to set my personal goals a couple of tenths lower/faster fortunately!
It also turned out to be a really motivating factor knowing that it was a team effort – I changed my workouts and diet to drop 10kg over a 5 month period in the season build up and beginning – to be better prepared for the two ~1 hour stints I’d be doing in our 3 hour races.
But we did encounter a few organization challenges during the season – we got off to a late start and the operative guys for the European activities had their hands full – and also learned after a few months that it would be more efficient if all practical matters were handled here from Europe – but I must say it has been impressive to see all team members – European and American – being flexible and making the 2012 season and our results possible!