This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Samantha Tan looks back on her 2018 season that saw her step up to GTS along with her ST Racing team, plus she fills us in on her 2019 racing plans.
How did your 2018 season mesh with your expectations?
“Yes, but at the same time we had very high expectations.
“We were doing very, very well at the beginning of the new season but, as a new team in GTS, getting the pit stop timing correct led to a couple of mistakes that took away a couple of podium finishes from us.
“It still was a very good season for us but we had some unfortunate mistakes. We ended up perfecting it at the end of the season, and that’s all I could really ask for.”
How big of a step was it for you to to jump to GTS?
“I think it was a pretty big jump coming from the BMW M235iR to the MBW M4 GT4. It had a lot more power!
“And going into the endurance race setup where we had to do driver changes, we had to manage tires and think about strategy, that was a whole new thing for me and for my team as well.
“It was really cool but definitely a different kind of game.”
Did you feel like you took a step forward with your driving?
“Yes, I do think I did better last year. Nick Wittmer was coaching me, teaching me, and that definitely helped. Power coming out of the corner is where I think I had my biggest struggles, but last year I was able to do a lot better in that.
“I also changed my braking, going a lot harder on my initial impact to get the car slowed down faster and carry that momentum through the corner. I worked a lot on that.
“To get my first podium finish in Pirelli World Challenge, I’m very happy with myself there. It was definitely the highlight of the season for me.
“To stand on the same podium at Circuit of The Americas that the F1 drivers get to stand on was a great experience.”
What can you tell us about your 2019 plans?
“We are participating in the GT4 SprintX in the West championship. I get a new teammate this year. Jason Wolfe, he was actually my first teammate in PWC when we both ran with Kinetic Motorsports.
“I also got a new racing coach this season: Nic Jonsson. He’s got me on a super intense fitness program this year that I think will better prepare me both physically and mentally.
“He was actually the coach when I was at Kinetic Motorsports as well, so I get two of my old teammates, people I used to work with, from my first season in the series back this year”
What would make 2019 a success for you?
“I think more podium finishes this year. I think we’re going to be aiming for that win and try to be more consistent, not making those small little mistakes in terms of pit stop timing.
“Getting more podiums, getting faster, and even more so, just comparing myself to the same cars this season.
“Last season I think I had a little bit of a problem comparing myself with everyone in different cars when really it only mattered how I compared to the other BMWs.”