Alexander Sims would be the first to tell you that he has had one of the most privileged learning curves possible in motor racing, winning the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award in 2008, and he has tested Formula 1 cars as well as competing in GP3, European Formula 3 and Formula Renault.
For 2014 though, Sims made the full time switch to GT racing, becoming a BMW factory driver and racing for the Ecurie Ecosse team, run by GT regulars Barwell Motorsport, in the British GT series.
As Sims was away on BMW duty last weekend at the Nurburgring, he missed the Snetterton round of the series and in theory, cannot now win the championship, but he reflects positively on the season so far.
“I think so far so good, I’ve really enjoyed it and the results have been really good. We’ve had podiums every time we’ve finished, except for the first round where we had some car gremlins, but yeah it’s been pretty spot on, it’s been very enjoyable.”
Sims won at the second race at Oulton Park on the opening round of the season, and has made a seamless transition into the Pro category, mainly down to his knowledge of the circuits, some GT testing work for McLaren and some brilliant driving to boot.
“Quite honestly the first time I sat in a GT car it was, it’s still only a racing car at the end of the day and you’ve just got to work out how to drive it as fast as possible.
“Whether you’ve got traction control or ABS or whatever that’s different to a single-seater, but from one point of view it’s still the same skill set of just trying to go fastest around the track.”
Sims knows most of the circuits on the GT calendar thanks to two seasons in Formula Renault.
“I have been to all the tracks, Brands GP I’ve only been to in a Radical, but I’ve done Brands Indy loads of times and I’m sure the GP track won’t be too difficult.
“It’s nice to go back to tracks even though it’s been five years since I’ve been there, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the tracks are about so that does help certainly.”
As well as adapting to the British GT format, the 26-year-old is also transitioning into endurance racing, having only ran the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012 and the Nurburgring last weekend. Sims however is positive of his and the team’s chances ahead of that race.
“I’m expecting to go there and fight for the win or a podium, to come away with some silverware would be lovely. I’ve not driven in the series this year, I don’t know the pro am class in terms of driver line ups that well, but I think we’ve got a pretty strong team.”
Sims will join Olly Bryant, Andrew Smith and Alastair McCaig in the Ecurie Ecosse assault on the Spa 24 Hours, but will also be at Spa in July for the British GT race, as well as finishing the season at Brands Hatch and Donington. Sims and team-mate Marco Attard are in a good position going into the final two races, and are consistently up front every weekend.
The main competition is last year’s champion Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam in the Beechdean Aston Martin.
“There are other guys as well but Jonny seems to me the most grounded and highest performing driver in the pro class that I’m up against.
“Marco similarly has Andrew Howard as the toughest competitor for him in the Gentleman’s category so it’s a really good match.”
With three rounds remaining, Sims is hoping to help Attard and Ecurie Ecosse win the British GT title, something which will be no small feat.
“The performances from the team and Marco have been spot on, we’re still in the championship hunt. We will take it race by race and score as many points as we can.”
Images courtesy of British GT