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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Chris Froggatt

This week’s Paddock Pass featuring Sky Tempesta Racing driver Chris Froggatt…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Sky Tempesta Racing enters its second season in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS this year with its Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo and does so with an even stronger package than its debut season.

The British team was back on track in the season-opening round at Imola last weekend which saw Chris Froggatt, Eddie Cheever III, and Jonathan Hui claim a podium result in Pro-Am.

In this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass, Froggatt discusses that second-place finish and his personal racing aspirations.

First race back, what’s your take on how the weekend went?

“For being so out of practice and rhythm I think we couldn’t have asked for too much more. I think the team did a perfect job; we were met with a few challenges along the way in the weekend in terms of set up with the car. Obviously it’s a track we don’t spend too much time on in GT racing or we’re too familiar with.

“The car was a bit tricky to get to grips with the correct set up for the race and for qualifying. In the race itself because the pit boxes are so tight we had an issue with the pit stop and the third driver change where there was Mercedes that came in just in front of us and made it very difficult for John to stop the car in the correct place.

“So we had to jack the car up to put it on the trolleys and then do the driver change so we lost some time in that but the team handled it in the best possible way.

“For being so out of rhythm I think the weekend went really well. As the first run with various new comments to the team and the line-up I think it went pretty well.

“Unfortunately, it was my mistake which probably cost us most, I got a penalty for speeding under Full Course Yellow.”

How do you reflect on a class podium? What was achievable had the car not got the penalty?

“I’m really happy that we managed the second place that we did with the situation; we’re fortunate that every other car except the Aston Martin that won in class also got a penalty for speeding under FCY so we’re very lucky that it was a mistake that a lot of cars seemed to make.

“You see even in the highest levels of motorsport, Formula 1, mistakes being made just because we’ve all been out of the rhythm for so long.”

What’s your take on the pace of the Ferrari 488 this season?

“From a driver’s perspective, the car is fantastic to drive and always has been. It really is an awesome car to drive.

“The overall pace it’s hard to tell at the moment, I think there will be adjustments with BoP; I’d say the Ferrari has always struggled a little bit with the balance of performance, it’s never been outright the quickest car on the track but it does have a good performance on its tires and over a race it’s consistent.”

Does it feel different now the team is in its second season in GTWC Europe? Do you feel you’re better prepared?

“I feel my team-mates and I used the lockdown as best we could to keep in shape and did as much sim racing as we could to keep ourselves as sharp as possible.

“Beyond that, I think it has been more the experience from last year that we’ve carried over, which for me was my first year racing in a GT3 car. In endurance racing even though the three-hour races are a three-hour sprint you are more gentle with the car than in other forms of racing.

“The way you treat the tires at the beginning of a stint really does pay off or hamper you at the end of a stint.

“Last year’s experience and taking certain parts and building on them I think we’ve bettered some processes and enabled us to do better and I think we’re certainly in a stronger position now with the line-up and the team.”

How have you found working with Eddie Cheever III and Jonathan Hui?

“I worked with both but separately last year but this is the first time we’re working altogether as team-mates so it is a new experience.

“Eddie has always been a mentor for me in racing and has helped me a lot with my development as a driver.

“Jonathan is just a fantastic team-mate to have, he really works very professionally and he’s probably the hardest on himself if something does go wrong or he makes a mistake. I have such strong team-mates it really makes me want to be better.”

What are some of your plans and goals for the future in racing?

“Beyond Spa, we wanted to do Suzuka the 10-hour race but that has been canceled this year. I’ve enjoyed the last couple of years representing the UK in the Nations Cup events and I was really looking forward to hopefully doing that again soon.

“Our program this year is very focussed on the core program with GT World Challenge Europe and attacking the sprint side of it for the overall championship.

“I’d like to revisit the potential of doing something like Suzuka next year — Le Mans and Daytona are both goals for me but I’m making sure I don’t rush the process and gain the right experience and feel comfortable that it’s the right step for me as a driver and for the team.

“Those are goals, but when I think it’s tough to say.”

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