After showing strong pace and potential as he recorded a pair of points finishes across the opening four meetings of the season, Tom Sharp will launch the second half of his maiden Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign this weekend (29/30 July) at the Hungaroring.
Based on the outskirts of Hungary’s capital city Budapest, the Hungaroring is the latest new circuit for Sharp and his family IDL Racing team to tackle as they continue to embark on the biggest challenge of their racing careers so far in the F1-supporting Supercup.
Following two years in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, this season they’ve stepped up to compete in one of the most competitive sportscar series in the world, coming up against teams and drivers with years of experience at the pinnacle of Porsche’s one-make racing pyramid.
The Camberley racer would kick off the season with a promising showing during the double header season opener at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. With the benefit of a pre-season test at the circuit, he was able to hit the ground running with a hard-fought points finish in race two.
Next up was Sharp’s first opportunity to tackle a street circuit in Monaco. After posting his best qualifying result of the season so far in thirteenth, the BRDC member would impressively battle for the top ten before contact from a rival unfortunately ended his race prematurely.
The team would then face the logistical challenge of back-to-back race weekends earlier this month, with a trip to the Red Bull Ring in Austria being followed by the IDL, Dome Group, Mardix Group, Lloret, GBE and Fireclad Limited backed racer’s home meeting at Silverstone.
Sharp produced an impressive display in Spielberg as he rose ten places from his grid position to finish a seasons best thirteenth, however luck deserted him a week later as he once again found himself as the innocent victim of contact and ended up at the back of the field.
The Surrey driver is determined to bounce back from that disappointment though and use everything he’s learnt across the season so far to show further progression across the remaining four meetings of the campaign, starting in Hungary.
Sharp will get acquainted with the 2.72 mile circuit during a forty-five minute practice session on Friday, with qualifying following the next morning. The fourteen lap race will take place on Sunday at 10:30 UK time, with live television coverage on Sky Sports F1.
Tom Sharp: “We knew this was going to be a difficult challenge to take on and it has been exactly as we expected it be. I know what the racing is like and travelling these long distances for just three track sessions and one thirty minute race, you can’t leave anything on the table.
“Unfortunately that sort of mind-set does provoke the odd accident and we’ve been really unlucky to have been caught up in two accidents not of our causing, but it’s one of those things and you make your own luck in a sense by where you qualify on the grid.
“Qualifying has been our downfall so far this season. We showed in Spain and Austria that we have the pace to move forwards in the races, but we haven’t been able to show that speed in qualifying, however that is provoked by the fact we head into the meetings not knowing the circuits.
“We’re learning loads every weekend though and it feels like we’re getting there with gelling the team, learning the car and everything. It’s not going to get any easier, that’s for sure, but hopefully we can get some more opportunities to put on a show and highlight what we can do.
“We head to Hungary in a similar situation to Austria and Monaco, having not tested at the circuit before it will be a big challenge for us, but we’re looking forward to the weekend, the circuit looks like it will be enjoyable to drive and we’re hoping for a strong outing.”
Hungary Timetable (local times, BST+1): Friday 28th July: Free Practice – 16:45 to 17:30; Saturday 29th July: Qualifying – 12:20 to 12:50; Sunday 30th July: Race – 11:30 (14 laps)
Prior to the Austria and Silverstone weekends, Sharp was invited by Porsche to be one of their drivers at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for a second consecutive year, allowing him to drive some of the most iconic machinery in the German manufacturer’s history.
Sharp got the opportunity to tackle the world-famous Goodwood hillclimb in the 1978 Porsche 935 ‘Moby Dick’ and the WSC-95 prototype in LMP1-98 guise, as well as the brand new 607hp 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series road car.
Sharp: “When someone asks you why do you race a Porsche, well the racing is great, the car is great, the people are great, but it’s also because of these incredible opportunities that they’re able to give us, and being able to drive such iconic cars at Goodwood is truly special.
“They are super rare, one of one, truly irreplaceable and they let you drive them. I feel incredibly privileged and I feel so grateful for the opportunity. It was once again a fantastic weekend at the Festival of Speed and an experience I’ll never forget.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei