Josh Webster plans to use this weekend’s Sebring 12 Hours as an opportunity to gain experience ahead of his maiden campaign in GT3 with Konrad Motorsport.
The 22 year-old, a champion in Carrera Cup GB as a rookie in 2014, will enter the American classic in the same Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with which he will contest the Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am category, and is brimming with excitement ahead of his first visit to Sebring with an unconfirmed set of team-mates.
“Sebring has always been a race that I’ve wanted to do – I’ve watched it every year ever since I’ve been involved in racing – and to be honest I didn’t expect it, so I’m really excited,” said Webster, will combine his Blancpain commitments with a full season in the Lamborghini Europe Super Trofeo championship, also with Konrad. “Coming from Porsche Carrera Cup, obviously it’s a fantastic programme that I’ve been able to seal, I keep having to pinch myself!”
Although Webster has yet to test the Huracan – which is expected to be pegged back on the Balance of Performance after comprehensively outclassing the rest of the GTD field at the Daytona 24 Hours – the Briton is confident that the extra track time at Sebring will enable him to get to grips with the car in time for a positive start to the Blancpain Endurance season.
“Wherever the cars are pace-wise at Sebring, we’ll just have to deal with it and go from there,” said Webster. “I know that the Huracan is a fantastic package, not only power-wise but the handling is very good as you would expect from a mid-engine car. If there’s any team to get the best out of it with the BoP it will be Konrad.
“I’ve done two years in Porsche Carrera Cup so I’m used to driving GT cars, but with GT3 there will be a few things that I need to try and master as quick as possible, such as ABS and traction control. The longest stint I’ve ever done is about 45 minutes which was at the support race for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014 for the Porsche Carrera Cup and I’ll have to do a minimum of three hours, so there will be lots to learn.
“For my first proper endurance race, I think the actual pace of the car doesn’t matter too much, it’s going to be more about get as much experience as possible, doing the best job I can and starting the year with a good solid base that I can work from.”
Webster isn’t the first young British driver to be taken under Franz Konrad’s wing. Nick Tandy was plucked by Konrad from a disappointing season in the F3 Euroseries in 2009 and has since gone on to win the Le Mans 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans, a success story Webster hopes to emulate.
“The first ever test I did in a car was with JTR in Formula Ford with Nick as a driver coach, so I’ve known him for a while and he’s definitely a driver that I aspire to,” he said. “Franz took him under his wing and now he’s arguably one of the best GT drivers in the world, so the plan is to work with Franz and then who knows what can happen in the future.
“We had a good few offers on the table over the winter, for a variety of different series including GT Masters and British GT, but when we got the offer from Konrad, who I knew from Porsche Supercup and German Carrera Cup, I couldn’t refuse it. Blancpain Endurance is something that I’ve wanted to race in for a long time – it’s one of the toughest GT categories to race in the world and to do the Spa 24 Hours is huge for me because I need to get as much experience of longer races as possible.
“It’s been tough to see drivers unveil their plans a lot earlier in the year, but I’ve had a bit of time to weigh up the options and I’m really delighted with the programme that we’ve put together.”