GP2: Silverstone experience will give me edge, says Conway

By Andy Darley

CalendarTuesday, July 1st, 2008

 
 

With testing and practice time cut to the bone in GP2, Mike Conway reckons his experience on the Silverstone circuit will serve him well when race day comes.

The Trident Racing pilot says he’s a fan of the circuit because of its speed – and because he tends to run well there.

He said: “It’s just a really flowing circuit, similar to Spa. I have raced at Silverstone lots of times, it’s a track I like and seem to be quite fast at, so I’m looking forward to going there again and hopefully we will have another good weekend there.

“It’s quite a challenge to drive – and it’s not easy to get the car set up right either because you need it to be good through the high speed sections and also through the slow speed corners.”

Conway won from pole in Monaco, but was unable to repeat the feat in France last time out. Even so, he reckons his second full year with Trident Racing is going visibly better than his first.

He said: “We knew the second year would be better for results – they just seem to come easier in your second year. You learn a lot from the year before, what you should do and what you’re not doing.

“It’s been quite difficult to begin with but we have finished and scored points, which is a lot more than the start of last year. I had my first win in Monaco so we just have to keep it up and make sure we’re doing it every weekend.”

Conway has his sites set firmly on an eventual move to F1, and is a member of Honda’s development programme. He reckons GP2’s lack of testing and practice are helping him hit the ground running whenever he gets the chance to work with the big boys in the senior series.

“It does prepare you really well because you have such little time in GP2 to test,” he said. “On a race weekend you only get 30 minutes practice and then the same for qualifying.

“This means you have to really maximise your time in the car and be focused on how you’re going to get the car quicker. So it can only help going into F1, when you have a lot more time to practice, because you can be on it a lot faster.”

And here’s what a fast lap of Silverstone looks like the Mike Conway way:

“The first sector is great fun to drive. From that start finish straight you are in 5th gear into the corner, a tiny stab on the brake, then you just attack, attack all the way, but being careful not to step on to the run-off area, which can pull you off – it’s really easy to get caught out.

“Then you’re into the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex which again is really fast – you have to stay smooth through there, keeping as much speed as you can and getting a fast exit onto Hanger straight.

“Down Hangar into Stowe, a fast entry then down two gears, and along a short straight before entering the quick left/right of Club. It’s easy to have difficulties with traction here, so the line is critical.

“A dash down to Abbey, and there’s nothing too technical here, just remember to use a lot of curb and watch out for that tricky bump on the exit, especially in the wet. Bridge comes up quickly and is very fast, flat when it’s dry, which means Priory arrives even faster.

“The apex is blind, so watch the entry. There are two slow lefthanders which need you to brake as late as possible then is bang on the power again all the way around Woodcote and onto the straight, time it all properly and you hit 6th gear before passing the start/finish line – then you get to do it all again!”

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