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Opinion

How a TOCA champion is learning to be a little fish in a big pond

Reigning Carrera Cup GB champion and BRDC SuperStar Kiern Jewiss is enjoying his rookie season in Europe, but recognises it comes with a fair amount of learning. On the eve of his Spa 24 Hours debut this weekend, he explains how his GT World Challenge adaption is progressing

#62 Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Derek Pierce, Kiern Jewiss, Jaxon Evans

Last year I had a great second season in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. It was nice to get that championship wrapped up and, staying on with Team Parker Racing from 2021, it was important to hit the ground running. It was nice, a weight off my shoulders and a box ticked.

This season I was really expecting to be a gold-rated driver, but coming in as I did with a silver grading meant there were plenty more opportunities. To stay with Team Parker again but this time going to the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with the Porsche 911 GT3-R was a good opportunity to help build my career and see where we end up.

It has been tough because it’s a big challenge with a new car, not only to myself, but to the team as well. It’s the first year for the 992 GT3, so it takes a lot of work and there will be a lot of development to do as well. There are also lots of new tracks for me to get used to, and the racing is very different to what I’ve done before. It’s a big eye-opener because, every time you do something, you then think, ‘Right, I’m ready,’ and then something else comes along that you have to deal with, so there’s a lot more to it. But it’s about rounding yourself out as a proper racing driver.

One big change for me compared to what I’ve been used to before is racing with team-mates in the same car. It’s going to throw up some challenges and it’s a very different mindset, but it’s something that, if you want a professional career in motorsport, you’re going to have to get used to it and it will be good to see how we get on. So far, we haven’t had to make any big changes.

Derek Pierce is a great bronze to drive with. He just wants the best car, so whatever you set up for him, he drives. But, as it’s a new car, everyone’s new to it and it’s going to take a lot of work to get where we want to be. Driving with Andy Meyrick is also interesting. He’s been looking after me with the BRDC SuperStars programme, so it’s great to be alongside him and it’s unique to have a SuperStar and the director in the same car together.

It’s been a privilege to return as a BRDC SuperStar because not many people go off the programme and come back. I can certainly take a lot more experience away from Andy and other people, whereas before, when you get to a certain level of single-seaters, it becomes about what car you drive and what information you require, whereas in this I’m a little fish in a big pond.

Jewiss is learning the nuances of endurance racing including sharing a car for the first time

Jewiss is learning the nuances of endurance racing including sharing a car for the first time

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

There’s going to be lots to learn and hopefully I can get as much information and experience as I can out of everybody else. This season we’re just taking it as it comes. It’s a series where we have Balance of Performance, which is something new to me, but I just have to try to better myself as a driver.

The opening round of the season at Monza was good experience. It gave us a base to work from, so hopefully we can keep progressing. We then had the Spa tests, where we understood more about the car, and it gave us further directions to head with things. Heading on to Paul Ricard for the 1000km, in terms of Porsche pace we were the third fastest, which is pretty good. It would have been nice to be up there with the fastest Porsche but that’s part of GT World Challenge – having to deal with things like traffic.

Driving at night presents all these different little challenges I’ve never had before. But it’s all about gaining experience and, to be honest, that’s a nice position to be in

As far as the race at Paul Ricard went, I was pretty happy with the daytime stint, and I’ve never driven during the night before, so I’m happy with how that went too. It was great to get the car’s fastest lap on the last lap of the six-hour race in my first proper endurance race with double stints.

At Paul Ricard you’re supported at night with some floodlights, but I think it will be a different story for the Spa 24 Hours this weekend – it’s going to be completely pitch black. Driving at night presents all these different little challenges I’ve never had before. But it’s all about gaining experience and, to be honest, that’s a nice position to be in, with less pressure and a good amount of time to continue developing myself as a driver.

Spa will be my first 24-hour race and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully we can come away with a good result.

Jewiss will share the #62 Team Parker Racing Porsche with team-mates Derek Pierce, Andy Meyrick and Xavier Maassen in the GTWCE blue ribband

Jewiss will share the #62 Team Parker Racing Porsche with team-mates Derek Pierce, Andy Meyrick and Xavier Maassen in the GTWCE blue ribband

Photo by: SRO

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