Charlotte Pearson finds out what it takes to be a GT driver.
There is more to GT racing than meets the eye.
“People think it is just a case of getting in a car and driving,” explains 18-year-old driver Alex Reed. “But you have to be fit, know the strategy, how the car works including tyre management, and how to drive the right way.
“It is about much more than driving fast, you need to know how to make quick decisions based on what you are doing.”
Alex’s racing career started in the junior class, and when he turned 13 he asked for driving lessons to help him fulfil his ambition of driving GT race cars.
“I have been race car driving from the age of 14,” he says. “But started karting when I was eight.
“You can race as a junior but when you practise you need a qualified trainer who is at a high level.”
In 2015 Alex joined the Lotus Cup UK grid for a full season, which saw him race at Silverstone GP circuits.
During this time he achieved seven podiums, five poles, four fastest laps, three lap records and two overall wins, resulting in him coming fourth overall.
“I love fast corners and have raced a lot of the UK circuits,” reveals Alex. “Silverstone has a lot of fast corners on it and I really enjoy driving there.
“I recently got my international licence so I will be able to drive abroad, which I am really looking forward to.”
This season Alex will be racing in the first of two Lanana Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports in the 2016 British GT championship, alongside former ‘24 hours of Le Mans’ driver, Joey Foster.
“The Lotus I drove last year was amazing, but I can’t wait to drive the Porsche,” he says.
So how does he prepare for a race?
“I practice on a racing simulation at home on the PS3, racing on the different circuits to memories the route,” answers Alex. “I also always try and beat my time on there.
“I spend a lot of time in the gym, about one or two hours, I workout a lot anyway but you have to be really fit to drive.
“I make sure I drink a lot of water in the lead up, as it is really important to be hydrated.”
When he isn’t busy driving around race circuits Alex is a student at Collyer’s in Horsham, where he studies design.
“It helps with the mechanical side of the car, which helps in the long run as if you know how a car works you can drive it better,” he explains.
Thankfully for the student juggling both worlds isn’t too much of a struggle.
“Racing mainly takes place on the weekend,” reveals Alex, “but if I need to go to a test in the week I just write a letter to the principal. But, at the end of the day, for me college comes first.”
As for the future Alex plans to go to university to study music technology.
“Music is my other passion and my hobby,” he enthuses. “I love seeing how it is all put together and produced.
“It is something that if I weren’t able to become a professional driver, which I hope I will be one day, that I could do, or do it alongside the racing.”
When it comes to his day to day car it might not be what you expect a racing driver to have.
“My normal everyday car is a Vauxhall Corsa, so a bit different from the Lotus and Porsches,” he laughs.
With big plans for his future and a full racing calendar ahead, for fans of GT Alex is surely one to watch.
GT and Formula 1
Sports car racing is a form of circuit auto racing with sports cars that have two seats and enclosed wheels. The cars may be purpose-built (Prototype) or related to road-going models (Grand Touring).
Whereas, modern Formula One cars are mid-engined open cockpit, open wheel single-seaters.
“GT is about endurance,” explains Alex. “Formula One is single open wheel driving, and will last one or two hours, but GT, like Le Mans, can be for up to 24 hours.”
April 28, 2016 Motors and Gadgets