Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography
Southport-based Ben Wallace has completed his first full season in the British GT Championship. The driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 did not have the most straight-forward of championships but finished the year lying twelfth in the GT4 Silver Drivers standings with 40.5 points after three seventh-placed finishes in class.
Ben Wallace spoke exclusively to EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd about his season and his thoughts on how he would like to develop his career in 2019.
When you look back at the 2018 season, Ben, what are the best memories that you take away from it?
“The 2018 British GT Championship is the best national GT championship in Europe so I was delighted when I got the opportunity to contest it in the Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4. The two races that stand out for me when I look back are Silverstone and Donington. At Silverstone my teammate was Alex Reed and we qualified eleventh on the grid in the GT4S category and finished seventh in class. I really enjoyed driving on the Silverstone GP circuit. For the final round of the season at Donington Park my teammate was Graham Roberts, with whom I’d driven at Brands Hatch. We qualified ninth in class and finished seventh in GT4S. Those were two races that were especially memorable”
“Even though I didn’t finish at Rockingham, it was a really enjoyable race as I gained, I think, 16 places from the start and showed the pace in the car. Brands Hatch wasn’t the greatest weekend for us as we had a power steering failure but racing on the full GP circuit was a lot of fun!”
“I didn’t necessarily get the overall results throughout the year that I was looking for when the season started but some good things happened in 2018 and I will look back on my first season in top-level GT racing with great fondness.”
Photo: Paren Raval
The season presented you with a number of situations you had to work though – Balance of Performance adjustments, changes of driving partners and the withdrawal of the sister car after Snetterton to name three. Where did you have to dig the deepest to keep pushing forward?
“I think Snetterton was one of those moments when you just have to get your head down and push through. Balance of Performance challenges and lack of overall pace meant that we weren’t anywhere near the pack in Norfolk which was a shame as the weather was perfect and it is a circuit I like. Also, the power steering failure at Brands Hatch caused Graham and I huge problems. They were probably the two occasions when I had to keep calm and make sure I was focused on those things that I could control.”
“One of the learning points that I have taken from the 2018 season is that you can’t influence everything and that a lot of situations are out of your control. When we had the pace, we came through the pack, as we showed at Rockingham.”
Looking ahead, what are your plans and where do you want to be in 2019?
“A lot depends on budgets, of course, and I am currently working as hard as I ever did on the track in my search for sponsors for next year. Ideally I would like to be back on the British GT grid as it represents the best in national GT racing and offers a great platform to demonstrate my pace, I hope, with a view to looking ahead to, maybe, the Blancpain GT Series in the seasons ahead. The first objective is, however, to secure the budget for a competitive seat in the British GT Championship next year.”
Talking of sponsors, partners and supporters, what have you learned from this season that you will be taking in to 2019?
“I’ve been a supporter of Diabetes UK this year and have proudly carried their logo on my car. Working as a supporter of Diabetes UK allowed me the opportunity to display my Ginetta G55 GT4 at the Ormskirk Motorfest in August. It was fantastic to talk to visitors about my race-car and career to date and it was especially relevant as I have a diabetic condition myself. So I really enjoyed building a relationship with the team at Diabetes UK North West and this has given me the confidence to know that I can add real value to a commercial relationship. It’s a skill I hope I can use to great effect next year.”
….and sponsors and supporters are vitally important if you want to succeed in motorsport.
“Absolutely they are! I am extremely grateful to Lips Reifenhandel for their continued support throughout the season. I hope I can carry their name on my car when I contend for championships in future years. I must also say a huge thank you to my father, Norbert, for his support, both in enabling me to race as well as being trackside at every round of the 2018 British GT season. I also want to thank my partner Lydia for being with me throughout the championship. To travel to race weekends with “Team Wallace” to back me up meant a huge amount, especially during the more challenging moments of 2018. My main ambition is to now repay everyone’s loyalty with titles and championships in the seasons to come.”
Ben Wallace can be contacted at Benjamin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Media enquiries should be directed to Andy Lloyd at EnduranceandGT@gmail.com