JAMES WALKER SHINES AT HOCKENHEIM
In good company; James Walker with (left to right) Frank Biela (D), Markus Winkelhock (D), Christian Danner (D) & Emanuele Pirro(I). Photo: Image Vaults
Despite unfamiliarity with the compressed natural gas-powered Scirocco used in the single-model series, Walker raced well against motorsport legends Frank Biela, Christian Danner, Markus Winkelhock and Emanuele Pirro to claim 22nd place at the German Grand Prix circuit.
Nottinghamshire-based Walker, 26, might have finished even higher up the order but for a penultimate-lap mishap: “I got up from 28th to 16th,” said James, “and then like an idiot I outbraked myself into the hairpin – the ABS came on and I went straight on and lost about seven places. I could easily have finished 15th or 16th, and was racing with Frank Biela all the way around, which was a lot of fun.
“It’s been awesome; what an experience. All I need to do now is to find someone with loads of money to sponsor me so that I can come back and do it next year. The German Scirocco is very, very different. I only had an hour in it, under pressure, to get to know it and it wasn’t nearly long enough. It’s so different that I had completely to forget how I drive my car at home, and just try to learn as fast as I could how to drive this one. It’s a totally different animal but a lot of fun once you get used to it.
“It was great to meet all those racing heroes: the way the championship is run out there is mind boggling. It’s a proper show.”
Walker finished only 36 seconds behind race victor and newly crowned Scirocco R Cup Champion Ola Nilsson and was seven seconds ahead at the line of a racing driver called Vettel – Norbert Vettel, father of double World Champion Sebastian, who was making his motorsport comeback after an 18-year lay-off.
Walker capped his frantic weekend with a dash back to the UK, where he was due on duty at church at his Godson’s christening.
His Hockenheim outing capped a superb season of racing for James: his Cooke and Mason-backed Scirocco carried him to two race victories in the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup; he clinched the championship title for the KPM team late last month at his home circuit of Donington Park. KPM team boss Kevin Poole and several team technicians made the trip to Germany to lend their support.
For more information about the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup visit www.vw-cup.co.uk visit visii