Alexander Sims has his sights set on writing a new chapter in the British GT history books in his part-season with Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracan in 2016.
The 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner received special dispensation from BMW to race the Huracan alongside his prior commitments with the Bavarian manufacturer in the Blancpain GT Series and Nurburgring 24 Hours.
It marks something of a surprise return to the championship for Sims, who won two races in each of the last two seasons and helped Marco Attard win the 2014 crown. He will partner Liam Griffin for the final four races of the season, commencing at Silverstone on June 12th, while Lamborghini factory driver Fabio Babini will partner Griffin at Brands Hatch, Rockingham and Oulton Park.
“It came about because I’ve raced with Barwell for the last two seasons in British GT and evidently didn’t upset them too much!” Sims joked. “They posed the question of would I be available and as it turned out, aside from a few clashes with the Nürburgring races I’ll be doing with BMW, the second half of the British GT season didn’t clash, I put it to BMW and they said ‘no problem’.
“In a way the pressure’s off, but ultimately I don’t think it changes things a huge amount because you always want to go in and do your best. I’ll be effectively fighting for the championship on Liam’s behalf because he’s doing all the races, and if I go in all guns blazing thinking it’s win or bust, then he might lose the championship because of that, so that’s not something I’ll do! We’ve done a couple of days testing in the Lamborghini so far and it’s all pretty sensible, so I wish Barwell and those guys the best of luck for the first half of the season and I look forward to jumping in for the second half.”
Sims will find himself in the unusual position of racing against Barwell in the Blancpain Endurance Cup, where the 28 year-old will join Stef Dusseldorp and Porsche Supercup champion Philipp Eng in a ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3. It marks Sims’ first full season in the championship since he raced a Hexis McLaren in 2013 – scoring a best finish of second alongside Dusseldorp and Alvaro Parente at Paul Ricard – but he’s not worried about rubbing shoulders with his British GT colleagues and hopes to be fighting for the overall GT Series title.
“Once we’re out on track you really don’t think about things too much, it’s just ‘there’s a car ahead, I need to overtake’ – it’s as simple as that really,” he said. “You work on your own performance, your own situation with your car and with your team, and whether you know the pit crew of the other car that you’re racing against, it doesn’t really matter.
“It’s nice to be coming back, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in the Blancpain Series full time, although I’ve done the Spa 24 Hours both years which is almost like its own stand-alone event because it’s such a big race. This is the biggest GT series in the world, for GT3 cars this is the place to be. Even in the Pro-Am cars you’ve got guys who are just as fast as you, and there’s no difference between the car’s performance, so you’ve normally got around thirty cars that will be theoretically fighting for the positions at the front.
“The car has done maybe half a year of development work last year that I was a part of, so I know myself that our car is very capable. I think if we can keep it together in the first few races and not have any major issues, then we can be in a position at the end of the year to be fighting for the title.”