Franck Perera is hopeful of completing a deal to switch to HTP Motorsport next season after joining the team at VLN10 last weekend.
32-year-old Perera enjoyed a strong Blancpain GT Series campaign with ISR Racing, twice qualifying on pole in the Sprint Cup and setting fastest laps at the Nürburgring (Sprint) and Paul Ricard in Endurance.
Though results rarely reflected his speed – a Safety Car in the final hour scuppered a likely Pro-Am win at Silverstone, while incidents accounted for his car while in podium contention at the Nürburgring and Barcelona – Perera did enough to impress HTP team principal Norbert Bruckner and chief engineer Alex Zoechling, who both worked with the Frenchman in Superleague Formula.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 he was due to share with Jules Symkowiak and Patrick Assenheimer sustained damage in qualifying which prevented it from taking the start, however Perera hopes to continue with the overall Blancpain GT champions in 2017 and is optimistic that a deal can be put together.
“They contacted me about two months ago, towards the end of the Blancpain season,” Perera told Racing.GT. “It’s too early for me to say anything, but I hope the opportunity will confirm itself. HTP is a team of great experience, the feeling with team and car was very positive – it would be a good career move for me.”
Unfortunate day at the Nurburgring. No race from Qualifying accident from team-mate. Thanks HTP for this opportunity pic.twitter.com/x2uSho6Gjz
— Franck Perera (@franck_perera) October 22, 2016
Perera is now one of few drivers to sample the latest generation Audi R8 LMS and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in anger, but having only completed a few laps in changeable conditions during Friday testing, found it difficult to make any meaningful comparisons between them.
“It’s difficult to see something as I did just very few laps and the track was changing every time,” he added. “The conditions were very difficult with rain, fog and cold and unfortunately one of my team mates had an accident during qualifying, which meant the damage were too big to race. But it’s a good overall package, with a good engine and good chassis. It doesn’t excel in a particular aspect, it’s just good all around, which is good for a championship.”