Season starts in Dubai

06.01.2015

Kevin’s 2015 competitive season starts on his 22nd birthday with a 24 hour race. Team, track and car are completely new to him.


This year competitive season starts unusually early for Kevin. The first major endurance race – Dubai 24 hours – takes place at Dubai Autodrome in UAE on January 9-10. Kevin teams up with compatriot Marko Asmer, Russian Alexey Vasilyev and Emirati Karim Al Azhari, driving #10 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and representing GTRussian team.

Kevin and Marko are the two Gold-grade drivers in their team. In the same time they are also two most titled Estonian racing drivers ever and the only Estonians who have tested pukka F1 cars. Marko won British F3 championship in 2007 which earned him a test-driver role in BMW F1 team. Last year he started in several GT3 series, driving McLaren MP4-12C and Mercedes SLS AMG. Marko with Alexey and Karim finished P5 overall and P2 on the track at Abu Dhabi 12 hour race in last December, before they were controversially hit with a penalty for alleged driving time limit violation.

Dubai 24h race will get green flag at 11.00 (CET) on Friday, January 9. It is of course pure coincidence but Kevin turns 22 just on the day of the race start.’

And now let’s hear what he has to tell.

 

In the end-of-the-season interview you mentioned you are interested to do some endurance races in the winter. How did it materialize?

I had a conversation with Marko, they needed one driver for 24-hour race and so it happened.

Have you tested the car?

No, I have not.

How much practice time do you get before the race?

There is one long, five-hour practice on Wednesday and two practice sessions on Thursday, and then there is the qualification.

McLaren you drove in ELMS and Blancpain is a very different beast compared to Mercedes. Actually they can’t be more different – one is mid-engined and turbocharged, another has a big-capacity naturally-aspirated V8 in front.

Yeah, that’s true. And handling should be different as well. So let’s see, actually I have driven no other tin-top racing cars bar McLaren before. After this experience I can definitely say how different they are.

Without testing it is not that easy?

Well, we will have a five-hour practice, but I don’t know how many tires are available plus there are four dirvers, so I don’t expect too much track time. On the other hand, if we manage to reach the finish and I will get one fourth of all driving time or six hours, it makes a rather good mileage.

Entry list is filled with GT3 cars but there are no usual Pro and ProAm categories.

I will learn the details at the site but more or less it is decided only before the race because there are drivers with very different pedigrees. We have two Gold and two Bronze drivers in our car and if our bronzes will show reasonable speed we can even been classified as a Pro team. There are two or three full-Pro cars and they will certainly have an advantage over us. Of course, if we will rated as ProAms we could have rather good chances to win the category.

Have you been at Dubai Autodrome before?

No, everything is new for me. There will be more than 90 cars at the start but fortunately the track is quite long, so in this sense it’s OK.

It seems almost certain you have never started a season so early?

No, never. I hope I will have at least one more race in February. But let’s do this one first and then look further. There are no more plans in place for this year.

Race starts on your birthday, so you can give a perfect birthday present to yourself.

Yeah, year begins this way. I have to go for it!

Good luck!

Inside

Youngest driver to win a race in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

Read more...