Photo: Paren Raval.
17-year-old Mark Kimber enjoyed a highly successful career in karting, winning championships at British, European and international level, before making the decision to develop his racing career in cars, starting with the 2019 British GT Championship. Driving the #42 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 alongside teammate Jacob Mathiassen. After four rounds the duo are ninth in the GT4 Silver drivers standings, with a best finish of fifth in class at Snetterton.
Mark Kimber spoke with EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd ahead of the Silverstone 500 about his season so far and his thoughts on the future.
This is your first season in the British GT Championship. How are you enjoying it?
“I’ve enjoyed it way more than I thought. I’ve got to grips with it quite quickly with the limited track time we get. We haven’t had many test days and yesterday in qualifying was our first dry laps of the track. It’s hard jumping straight into that but we actually managed to come out with a reasonable result considering.”
You’ve enjoyed a very successful karting career and your move into cars has been straight in to GT4 and the British GT Championship. That’s quite a bold, ambitious move. What were your thoughts behind that?
“Well, I’ve done British, European and World karting and I’ve had a few achievements at that. The past two years I’ve been testing quite a few different cars like Formula 3, F4 and Ginetta. I tested another GT4 car and I actually found that it was quite easy to get into whereas I found that F3 you need a lot more days to get into it. In GT4, the car moves around a bit more and it’s quite predictable – you can control it and it’s easy to jump into straight away so I thought it would be good step for me”
So progressing via a one-make series such as a Ginetta championship didn’t really appeal – you felt you could move straight in to GT4?
“I thought I would eventually end up in GT4 at some point so it wasn’t really a step for me.”
All drivers want to win every race they enter but your results so far in 2019 must have been very satisfying for you. What have you learned about GT4 cars in the four rounds you’ve contested so far?
“I think there’s a lot of possibility. We’ve shown good pace. We’re never quite high enough for a top finish but hopefully towards the end of the season we can get some podiums. I didn’t expect to be winning races straight away it – it’s a big learning experience and the grid’s really competitive. You can see when you do a lap time it’s really hard to get up the front and find a few tenths. It’s hard, close racing.”
How is your experience developing working with your engineers and data?
“We’ve had a really good engineer the last two races and the team are really friendly and they’re really good guys so it’s easy to get on with them so yes, the experience is developing well.”
What guided you down the path of Century Motorsport and the BMW M4 GT4?
“It was a good option for us. We had a chat with the team and they won the teams and drivers championship last year so it was a possibility for us. It was a late decision for us so there weren’t many teams to look at but I was very happy with our choice anyway.”
How has the relationship developed between the team, yourself and your teammate Jacob?
“Me and Jacob are getting along really well. We’re pushing each other along. The team is really passionate about winning – you can see that all the guys want a good result and they’re happy when the car’s performing well. They’re really enthusiastic about it and it’s good to see that.”
And the relationship with Jacob?
“I think we get on really well. We’re both mostly up there most of the time. If one of us is missing a few tenths, we can look at the data after every session. We’re staying at the track late most nights to try and find a bit of time.”
In terms of endurance racing with a teammate, coming from effectively just racing for yourself, what have the learning points been for you so far?
“Obviously looking after the car for your teammate! In endurance racing I think consistency is really important. If you can do a lot of lap times within half a second over the course of the race it can actually move you up a few positions. It is hard, though. You have to learn the whole pit stop process. The driver change here at Silverstone we have to do ourselves. It’s all a bit full on at the pit stop because we have to do it within a certain time. We were practicing late last night ands it’s going well.”
And I know you’ve only had four rounds so far in endurance racing and those have been sprint rounds but in terms of developing your career from here, are you looking down the path of GT and endurance as the way forward?
“That’s definitely where we’re looking at for the future but for now we’re just focusing on this year and maybe another year to see if we can fight for a championship or something and then we’ll look at different options that are available to try and move up the ladder.”