Maxime Soulet comes to the end of a challenging GT World Challenge Europe and Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season with Bentley Team M-Sport at this weekend’s Kyalami 9 Hours.
In this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass, the Belgian talks about the past season, his thoughts ahead of the IGTC finale in South Africa and his experience welcoming a new family member during the summer.
He’ll share the No. 107 Bentley with Jules Gounon and South African Jordan Pepper this weekend.
Contrasting a strong campaign with K-PAX Racing in GT World Challenge America, how would you describe your European and IGTC season?
“It’s been a difficult season for various reasons and especially on our car where we’ve changed teammates quite often so not easy at all. But you can’t have a perfect year every year, but this year has been quite tough for us.
“It’s a special year for Bentley [for its centenary celebrations], we all know that, but I think the result didn’t really show what we wanted to achieve.
“We’ve got [one more race] to go with Kyalami and we’re going to focus on that.”
After two years of competition, is the second-gen Continental GT3 now performing at its maximum?
“It’s motorsport and it’s not an exact science, but [the car has been] reliable except for in Spa, where we all know what happened.
“For the rest, the car is good and a step forward from the Gen 1 Continental GT3; it’s just that the BoP is tough now and they are making the cars, from my point of view, a bit too close to each other so the racing is difficult.
“I wish we could have a bit more difference, in some aspect, to have a bit more racing and not just a queue of cars lining up, but it’s not my call.”
What are your thoughts heading into a brand-new challenge at Kyalami this weekend?
“I lived for seven years in South Africa so for me, it’s nice to go back. The track is amazing and I know they did a lot of investment all around it, so I’m looking forward to going there.
“We need to perform better, I think it’s really clear. Like I said, it’s been a difficult year and we’re not performing the way we should so we need a bit of a wake-up, I think.”
And you welcomed a new family member a couple of months ago?
“We had a little baby, James. It has been difficult to get some sleep now at nights and on race weekends, I’ve been very happy to sleep alone in my hotel room, to be honest!
“It’s good endurance 24-hour training, without sleep!
“[We’ll bring him to his first race] probably next year. We were thinking maybe to bring him to Barcelona but I said no, I need some sleep now and he’s a bit too small, just trying to find excuses.
“He’s a bit too small to take on the plane and everything, so I told my girlfriend not to bother!”