Blancpain GT racer Craig Dolby insists there’s plenty more to come

Craig Dolby is raring to go at Spa EMN-150729-145921002
Craig Dolby is raring to go at Spa EMN-150729-145921002
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Racing driver Craig Dolby believes the frustrations of the first half of the season will inspire his team to reach new heights when the Blancpain GT series resumes after the summer break.

Sean Walkinshaw’s blameless race-ending collision with a wall last time out at the 24 Hours of Spa summed up the season so far for JRM Racing drivers Dolby, Walkinshaw and Martin Plowman.

The new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 enjoys drier conditions at Spa during testing EMN-150729-145910002

The new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 enjoys drier conditions at Spa during testing EMN-150729-145910002

A series of mishaps and misfires in qualifying and race day, mostly inadvertent, have left Dolby and co looking upward in envy at the Endurance and Sprint series leaderboards.

They have had plenty of encouraging performances in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, but Dolby feels the potential has not yet fully translated into points.

“We have had quite a lot of bad luck and got taken out by passing in the wrong place at the wrong time, or been caught out by a red flag,” he said.

“We have massive unfinished business at Spa, but it’s what can happen there.

“In normal championships these things can happen and you can still end up with a good position, but Blancpain bites you hard because it is so competitive.

“Half-a-second separated the top 42 cars the other week so if you lose two 10ths of a second you will lose a lot of places.”

After several seasons of uncertainty prior to his move to JRM as factory driver last year, some without a drive, the 27-year-old is having to re-acclimatise to endless airport departure lounges and questionable in-flight food.

In between regular midweek testing sessions in Germany with customer team Molitor, race weekends have been spent at the tracks of France, Italy, Belgium and Russia, as well as Britain.

The season finishes in the autumn with a return to Italy and trips to Holland, Germany and Portugal, but before then there are a few precious weeks back at home in Melton.

Dolby added: “I’ve done 32 flights this year already and we are only halfway through the season.

“It’s good fun, but it’s nice to be back at home just having a normal life for a bit with the family.

“James Walters (JRM partnership manager) gave me the opportunity to get back into a racing car and I owe him a heck of lot of credit for the last year.

“Looking after the other drivers and the development of the car, there has been a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but James and my engineer Gustavo have helped me through.”

The Melton racer has had to adapt to the added responsibilities to his team, and particularly to young team-mate Walkinshaw.

But there is nothing to suggest they have taken anything away from his focus behind the wheel.

“The way everyone is talking I will be with Sean again next year and I really hope to be,” he said.

“The package is already good, but we will make it a lot better.

“We have learned as a team and we have come up with pretty good results so far, but there is more to come. There are four rounds left to show what we can do.”