Strange to think that today will be my last day with my team Fortec Motorsport, but certainly not the last day of lifelong friendships to continue. Though there have been others too working with me over the past 2 years in the team, I just wanted to introduce and thank some of the team here.
Richard is the team owner and I see him regularly at the Fortec workshop factory in the week, and also when he comes along to watch at some of the racing. Richard creates a fantastic environment across the team, is very supportive of me and all of his drivers, and is a lot of fun over dinner!
This year Dave has been my number 1 mechanic and I could not have aksed for a more thorough and geniune guy to have on my car. The pride that he takes in its preparation is amazing and he is very good at what he does. He’s also the first to see when when I return to the pits after qualifying or a race and is always so supportive and encouraging regardless of if things have gone to plan or not. I love hearing the excitment in his voice after we have had a good result.
Also a mechanic on my car this year, and also very good at his job and again I am very lucky to have had him on my car. Caleb is very quiet (most of the time!), always does an amazing job and like David quite often has to work late into the evenings on race weekends.
The character of the team, generally the number 1 mechanic on the other car which unfortunately has been vacant for most of this year. It’s great to have Ed working with me though, and he is also very skilled at his work. Always keen to have a laugh and a good time, but his work is always forst class.
Emma is my data engineer and new to the team this year. She has been fantastic in this role and is always there to extract the information analyse the data which is so crucial to enable the car to be set up to be as competitive as possible. This has been especially important this year given we have generally only had the information from my car to work with, so we have to be 100% spot on in this department to make sure we are fast against the teams of 5 cars with much more data to work with.
Matt “Daisy” Dawson
Another character, and amazing guy to have with me for the past 2 years. Daisy is the truck driver and then manages the tyres across the race weekend. We didn’t have Daisy for a little while when he graduated to Formula 1 to drive the truck for the Renault team. However, it has been great to have him back in the latter part of this year.
Tom is my Engineer and the one on the “other end of the radio” when I am in the car. I work closest with Tom preparing and during the race weekend with us working as a team the whole time. Amazingly I knew Tom from Perth where he was working with Fastlane Racing during my very first year racing cars in Formula Ford in Western Australia.
Tom always expects the best from me, and is always looking for areas that I can improve and has been a massive part of the improvements I have made since coming to Europe. Tom and his wife Stacey have also put me up at their house regularly as I travelled up from Bath to be in the Fortec factoy during the weeks away from racing in the UK. I am really appreciative of all that he and his family have done for me, and it has been great to have their support during these times being so far from home.
I have to say that Mick has been, and is, one of the most influential people in my life. He has become my mentor, and has been with me throughout not only the most extreme and incredible 2 and a bit years of my life, but also as I started as a young 17 year old from Australia, to a 19 year old that has now spent so much time travelling the world.
Coming from racing in Australia to racing in Europe is such an extreme step, and there has been so much to learn, which Mick has guided me through. He has been very firm with me at times, but I also know he has always had my back and cares very much about me and my racing. Not only has he been with me all through Europe this year and last year, but was also in New Zealand amongst my team there for the Toyota Racing Series, so I have had him there every step of the way.
I know I have improved a lot, and I know that I am ready for the next step and I owe so much of this to Mick’s close guidance. I know also that this will continue, because as I said above, Mick will always be a very important part of my life.
Thank you to all the team at Fortec for everything. Friends forever, and I look forward to continuing to stay in touch and will never forget everything you have all done for me.