Cocker eager for LMP1 challenge
|By Steven English||Wednesday, August 26th 2009, 13:15 GMT|
Jonathan Cocker says he is looking forward to making his debut in the LMP1 class in Petit Le Mans next month, but admits his graduation from a GT2 car will present him with a steep learning curve.
The 23-year-old Briton drove Drayson Racing's GT2 Aston Martin Vantage in the American Le Mans Series in 2008 and the Le Mans Series this year, and will step up to an LMP1 Lola-Judd with the team at the 1000-mile ALMS race at Road Atlanta in September.
He is delighted to have been given an opportunity to race in sportscar's premier class and believes he can adjust quickly to the LMP1 car.
"It is a dream come true to get the call-up to P1 and it's going to be a massive challenge," Cocker told AUTOSPORT. "It's a really exciting prospect to get into an LMP1 car for the first time at Petit Le Mans and going through that 10-hour race against the Peugeots and Audis.
"Because of my lack of experience in single-seaters and high-downforce cars, it's going to take a little bit to get used to. But speaking to people like Darren [Turner] and Tomas [Enge], who have all driven GT cars and made the transition to LMP1, has given me a lot of confidence.
"Transfering from GT cars to prototypes, considering the speed, is not actually as big a step as people think. Obviously I'll only be able to tell you that having done it for myself, but having spoken to a lot of drivers I think it will be tricky but it's all going to make sense."
Cocker will drive the Lola Judd for the first time in the pre-race test in the week before Petit Le Mans.
"I know the car can do it and I know I can do it, so it's just bringing the two together really. We've got a couple of days testing at Road Atlanta prior to the event that's going to be a good headstart for us," he added. "I'm relishing the challenge."
He will share the Drayson Racing car with team boss Paul Drayson and double LMS GT2 champion Rob Bell. The trio will also contest the ALMS finale at Laguna Seca in October and the Asian Le Mans Series event at Okayama in November.