Having scaled back Bullitt Racing’s programme during the COVID years, the team is back strongly in 2022 with a brand-new partnership with Aston Martin Racing and is going from strength to strength.
The team has performed well all season and remains very much in the title race for the Michelin Le Mans Cup with two rounds remaining. Team Manager Steffan Pattrick talks about the season so far and the team’s impressive upcoming plans which encompass multiple events in the United Arab Emirates.
Q: This is your first season as an Aston Martin Customer team, how is the relationship progressing and how has the team got to grips with the Vantage GT3?
“We started the programme towards the end of last year with a series of tests, building our understanding and knowledge of the car to a point where we started the Le Mans Cup season confident in the platform.
“Aston Martin has been incredibly supportive of our campaign, and we’ve been working closely with both the Academy programme and the Factory itself and its drivers to extract as much information as possible to enable us to be competitive out of the gate.
“These early efforts continue to pay dividends with us second in the championship and we’re excited to show what the car can do in these final two rounds but also in our future programmes.”
Q: Points in every round to date, a pole position and second in the standings, you must be satisfied with how the season, as a whole, is playing out?
“It’s our first year in the Le Mans Cup and we’re all satisfied with the progress we have made with AMR. Like I said before, it’s not a surprise that we have been successful as the pre-season programme prepared us well. The team is working well, and we continue to learn more at each round.
“We’re really looking forward to getting back into race conditions and feel confident that we can fight race wins, something that has frustrated us so far this year! So, we go into the final rounds keen to prove to ourselves and others that we are a serious championship contender.”
Q: You have two very professional drivers in Valentin and Theo who have both performed well. What is the pan for these two in terms of driving at Spa and Portimao?
“Both will be racing in the final two rounds and having such talent available to us, helps us in the next step towards championship victory. Theo is young talent and Valentin graduated to be a Factory driver earlier this year.
“Both bring bags of passion, and in Valentin’s case a lot of experience which has been a real asset to us and is a major factor in our current championship position. Spa will see Valentin race and in Portimao, it will be Theo. We have tested at both of these tracks with the two drivers, so we know we’ll be at the sharp end of the GT3 field.”
Q: You Am racer is Stephen, has enjoyed a very strong season in what continues to be a steep learning curve…
“I have been working with my father on his race programme for the last three years and in that time we have seen a massive development as a driver, especially this season where things seem to have really clicked. You often see that with an Am driver, where they plateau and then suddenly exponentially improve and that is what we are seeing now. We are seeing that now as we are getting the results.
“Monza was extremely hot, and it was the first time he had driven in those conditions, to balance speed, tyre temperatures, but it’s all part of the learning curve and we take something positive from every experience. He now goes into these last two rounds hungrier than ever and with a real understanding of what he needs to do. He wants to do more, that’s all a part of the team’s winning mentality.”
Q: Winning the Michelin Le Mans Cup championship is the ultimate aim, but what is the team’s plan beyond Portimao and into the start of 2023?
“Our aim – something we are transparent about – is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of course, there are many things we need to do before we can compete in the 24 Hour race. It’s all about the steps and I can confirm that we have a programme coming up to include the forthcoming Gulf 12 Hours, the Asian Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Dubai.
“These are good high profile and attractive events for Bullitt Racing. Of course, with the Asian Le Mans Series, you double your chances of earning a Le Mans entry, so that is naturally the focus beyond the end of the Le Mans Cup.
“We have an extensive test programme in place from October through to March as well, so, we can all be excited for the ’winter season’ ahead. I can say now that next season that we will have multiple cars in the Le Mans Cup, but I cannot discuss more than that right now!”
Q: You have a closely knit team where everyone is pulling in the same direction with both enthusiasm and professionalism…
“There is no weak link in the team; everyone is doing a superb job, whatever the role in the team. We feel we are going in the right direction together and long may it continue.”