Motor racing: Singapore's Hudspeth embraces uncertainty as he levels up to race in Italian GT C'ship's Pro classMarch 23, 2021
SINGAPORE – Just days before he was set to fly back to Italy to prepare for the upcoming Italian GT Championship, Singapore’s Sean Hudspeth received news that the country was going into lockdown to stop a third wave of coronavirus infections that is threatening to wash over Europe.
Despite this, Hudspeth, who had been in Singapore since January, bit the bullet and engineered a return to Italy last Tuesday (March 16) to gear up for the season where he will be making the step up to the Pro class.
Having competed in the Pro-Am class in the last two years, the 27-year-old, who will represent GT racing team AF Corse using Ferrari cars, is expecting a much tougher season this time round.
But after winning the Italian GT Sprint Championship’s Pro-Am overall title in 2019 and the 2020 Italian GT Endurance Championship Pro-Am class, Hudspeth hopes to replicate the success he has had in previous seasons.
Explaining the difference between classes, he said: “In the Pro-Am class, one driver is a professional and the other is an amateur. But this year, all of us will be professional drivers and all the other cars we’re competing with all have professional drivers so the level of competition will be significantly higher.”
Adding that he was looking forward to the challenge, he said: “I’m very competitive and the team that I’m racing with is very competitive, so I’m just focused on myself, doing the best that I can do and help the team as much as possible.”
This season, Hudspeth will link up with former AF Corse teammate Antonio Fuoco, whom he had won the 2019 title with, and new teammate Carrie Schreiner. He will compete in 12 races across the Endurance and Sprint Championships in the season that flags off on April 30.
During his break in Singapore, he drove at the KF1 Karting Circuit to train his reflexes and hand-eye coordination in a bid to maintain his form. A coach at Corso Pilota, Ferrari’s driving school, he was also doing events with Ital Auto, Singapore’s official Ferrari dealership.
As the pandemic rages on in Europe, Hudspeth still has lingering concerns over whether he will be able to travel around Italy for his various races. Last year, with different regions in the country classified into zones corresponding with the severity of the coronavirus situation, there were times when he was unsure if he would be unable to head to his next race destination.
He said: “Travelling between provinces was quite tricky. A racing championship is already hard as it is and that made it even harder.
“It was mentally tiring because you’re always on edge, but it was also physically tiring because you have very little time to rest and stay in one place. You can’t just go back to this city and rest, you have to think about the risk.”
While he knows that these are problems that he could face in the season ahead, Hudspeth, whose ultimate goal is racing in the 24 hours of Le Mans, is taking things one step at a time.
He said: “It’s causing a little bit of stress and uncertainty but I’ve just learnt to go with the flow and do the best I can with what I can control.
“I’m expecting (some form of) normality because hopefully everyone and the series have learnt to approach the situation that will result in smooth running of the championship. After what I’ve seen, I’m always expecting the unexpected, I can’t get comfortable.”
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