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Driver Coach Reflects On Lim A1gp Debut

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:49 PM


    Fast & Furious

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Aaron Lim, in his debut for A1 Team Malaysia at the A1GP season finale, was handed a huge challenge; racing at the most difficult track of the season at Brands Hatch in the UK.

Lim has been part of A1 Team Malaysia for over two years and since this time has participated in every rookie session of the series. The rookie role has been an opportunity for Aaron to gain experience of the A1GP car while also helping the team prepare for the two races in each round. However, the step up from rookie driver to main driver was a major one. With over 620 bhp to control, it was the most powerful car Lim had ever competed in. In addition, Lim had not raced for two years prior to this event, adding to his challenge.

A1 Team Malaysia brought in a professional driver coach to assist Lim at the event. Danny Watts, who has successfully raced the new A1GP car and scored two podium finishes, gave Aaron guidance, tuition and feedback throughout the weekend.

Watts reviewed the weekend saying, “I think the biggest thing for Aaron this weekend was his lack of experience in comparison to the other drivers in the field. If you look down the grid at the guys at the front, they are really experienced and have been in the car all year, so he was really up against it. The first practice session on Friday afternoon was a big thing, then qualifying using the PowerBoost, followed by the Sprint and Feature races, all adds up to it being the longest he has sat in a car for three or four years.

“All in all he’s been up against it, but he’s done well. I know he’s disappointed not to finish in the Feature race, but he has acquitted himself really well. He now just needs to get as much time in a racing car as possible, racing mixed in with a bit of testing would be good. It’s important to have race mileage and him racing against other people to build up his confidence.

“There was a big difference in his lap times from the beginning of the weekend to the end, as well as a difference in his confidence. His technique and working through data with the engineers improved a lot and his mental attitude was improving all weekend.”

Lim valued Watts’ input during the weekend: “Danny was an enormous help to me, as he was able to give me coaching throughout the weekend. With his experience of the A1GP car he understands the challenges and how to make the most from the car. There was so much to take in during the weekend – it was information overload at times, I just had to stay focused and work through it, but having Danny was excellent.”

Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia, added, “Danny was able to share his knowledge and experience to help Aaron in many areas. This included his mental preparations as well as working on his driving style for this track. There were so many areas which were new to Aaron – the qualifying format, pitstops, new tyres – as well as the length of time he was in the car each day. There is only so much preparation that a driver can do, the rest is down to experience of racing. Aaron lacks this and it’s the biggest obstacle for him.

“For this weekend we were able to give Aaron the exposure to the next level of racing and against this backdrop were pleased with the potential he showed over the course of the weekend.”

The season finished with A1 Team Malaysia taking sixth place in the overall World Cup of Motorsport standings for the 2008/09 A1GP series.

Jaime @ AW