Belated Christmas for Germany-based racer

Brendon Leitch drives his Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan during the Hankook 12 Hour GT...
Brendon Leitch drives his Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan during the Hankook 12 Hour GT race at Hockenheim, Germany, last May. His team finished third. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
While everyone else took their Easter break over the weekend, Brendon Leitch was in the middle of his Christmas one.

That is how he is treating his return home, at least.

The Invercargill and Cromwell driver is home for the first time in 18 months, taking advantage of a break in his racing schedule in Europe.

He had known it would be tough to get home when he left.

An attempt to secure an MIQ spot for Christmas fell through, as it did for so many.

So when the borders opened, he took his opportunity and is now home for five weeks, what he is considering his Christmas break.

Training did not stop while he was home, though.

Based in Germany, Leitch is doubling up, racing as a junior factory driver for Lamborghini in both the GT World Challenge and the Super Trofeo Europe.

Last season had been his first living and racing in Europe — although he had raced in Asia in 2019 — and he had tried to learn as much as possible.

Coming through the various classes in New Zealand had prepared him well, although he said everything went to a new level in Europe.

"Especially this year racing in the GT world challenge, it’s the top GT championship in the world," he said.

"It’s something amazing, everything that goes into it.

"It’s not just the driving. It’s the fitness, it’s the preparation, it’s the support from the team. It’s understanding the characteristics of the car, and trying to develop a set-up with the team.

"There’s so much adjustment on these cars. They’re very technical from that perspective.

"Everyone’s looking for the last tenth or hundredth of a second. It’s quite an experience being at this level for the first time, really.

"I’m just trying to take it in as much as possible and give my best advice and feedback possible to the team."

His first race of the season — at which he doubled up in the GT and Super Trofeo — had its positives and negatives.

However, he said he had learnt a lot from the experience.

His next event was not until the beginning of June and he would head back to Germany for that.

A full season of racing would follow, as he looked to continue growing his relationship with Lamborghini.

That was part of his ultimate goal, to become a factory driver for a manufacturer.

"You work for them, race at different races for them and develop their cars.

"Having a good relationship with a manufacturer is important. I’m lucky to have such a good relationship with Lamborghini."

--  JEFF CHESHIRE

 

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