At just 22 years old, Vince Abril hardly knows what ‘old-school’ is, but the championship-winner from Monaco is looking forward to getting his fill of it this weekend as his Bentley M-Sport team heads to Monza for the second round of the Blancpain GT Series. Here, the busy Bentley Boy explains what makes Monza so special and brings us up-to-date with his plans to crack the USA.
Monza is one of the tracks in the Blancpain GT Series calendar that feels a bit special. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but it has an incredible atmosphere. You walk into the paddock and you know that some of the best racing in the history of motorsport has taken place there.
Get on-track and it’s no different. It’s a real ‘old school’ circuit, with long straights for towing and passing, with little or no run-off. If you make a mistake, you’re in the wall. I know this doesn’t sound like much fun but it really heightens your senses and, as a thrill-seeking racing driver, it really doesn’t get much better.
The Blancpain GT Series season couldn’t have started better for me. At the opening round of the championship – the Sprint Series Cup in Misano – Steven [Kane] and I finished in second place. To break-up the Mercedes domination felt great. In fact, it felt as good as a win!
This weekend, in the Endurance Series Cup, I’m back with Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek in car #8, and I’m hoping to carry on the good vibe from Misano. Jumping between cars has its challenges in that there is a lack of consistency but, on the positive side, the more drivers I race with, the more rounded a competitor I know I can become – Steven, Max and Andy all bring different strengths to the table and, as the youngest in the team, I am always looking to draw on their experience.
The competition will be tough this weekend – the entry list includes ex-F1 drivers, Le Mans-winners and the best drivers in GT racing – but I think we have a great chance. The Continental GT3 is pretty quick at Monza, and Max and Andy scored a podium last year, so there’s no reason we can’t repeat that again.
After Monza, I’ll jump straight on a flight to the USA for the first round of the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX, as Bentley Motorsport has selected me to support its American partner team, Bentley Team Absolute.
I think most drivers in Europe would love to race in the USA, but it’s a pretty hard place to crack. I’m determined to make the most of this opportunity and prove to Bentley that they made the right choice in trusting me to represent the brand in what is the team’s fastest growing market.
But, first, let’s get to Monza and get our Blancpain Endurance Series campaign off to a great start!