It was on a crisp October afternoon six years ago that Kevin Turner, now editor of Autosport magazine, watched a skinny 17-year-old from Denmark control the Formula Ford Festival under pressure from Scott Pye and Tio Ellinas in what he described as “one of the most impressive Festival performances in recent history.”
That youngster was Dennis Lind, who had only been able to stump up the budget to cover three rounds of the British Formula Ford championship before rocking up to the Festival in an unfancied Van Diemen which hadn’t won the marquee event since 2006 (and only after on-the-road winner Nick Tandy, driving a Ray, was penalised for a Safety Car misdemeanour.)
Now 23, Lind is on the verge of an even bigger prize in the context of his career, as Valencia plays host to the final round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Lamborghini World Finals. A near 60-car entry from the US and Asia has made the trip, including defending World Finals winner Patrick Kujala (sharing with Adrian Amstutz), former British F3 ace Richard Antinucci and Moto GP rider Andrea Dovizioso.
However, for Lind, all thoughts are focused on winning the European series, which he leads by six points from Latvian Harald Schlegelmilch, with Vito Postiglione and Martin Kodric also in contention.
“I’m not too concerned about anything else than the European championship. When or if I seal the deal on the European championship, I think the World Finals should just be a nice extension to that European final and hopefully can get some good results,” said Lind, who has already won four times this season at Monza, Silverstone and Paul Ricard with Italian outfit Raton Racing.
“I don’t think I had this kind of expectations last year this time, obviously, I was driving in the Danish Thundersport Championship with Jan Magnussen and other big names as well, but I was not really thinking that it would give me a chance in Super Trofeo.
“Now I’m here, of course I’m hoping for the win because it’s always nice to win everything you can win as a European driver in Super Trofeo and move on from there. But the European championship is the most important for the team, so hopefully I can give them a nice gift when we go back to our hotels on Sunday!”
It’s been a long wait for Lind since the last round of the championship at the Nürburgring in September, which saw Schlegelmilch make a big dent into his points lead with a victory and a second place finish. He admits that it will be a relief to take to the track in Valencia and get back to the task in hand, with all thoughts of the future delayed until after the weekend is over.
“I’m not too focused on next year right now – I’m just looking towards the final race. That’ been the mentality since the very beginning of my career, because we never had a big budget to race.
“It’s been nice to have time off to see the family and friends because I’ve been doing a lot of travelling all season, but when you know there’s one race to go you really just want to get it over with. We had a very nice two-day test at Valencia a few weeks ago, so I think we should be in pretty good form.”
Having raced on the Blancpain Endurance Cup support bill throughout the season, the series holds a natural appeal for Lind, whose pole lap at Spa would have put him 26th on the grid for the 24 Hours.
“Without shooting myself in the foot, I think the Blancpain Endurance Cup is at least visually one of the nicest series to look at,” he added. “There’s always a big grid and you have so many manufacturers battling within tenths of seconds, it’s just amazing to see and it’s something I would love to race in, for sure.”
The European championship will be decided on Friday, before the World Finals take place over the weekend. Click here to see a full entry list.