MOTOR RACING: Grantham driver Balfe races into the unknown

Shaun Balfe on track in his McLaren 650S.
Shaun Balfe on track in his McLaren 650S.
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Shaun Balfe will be racing into the unknown at the Red Bull Ring this weekend in the Spanish-based International GT Open.

The Grantham-based driver, who won the Spanish Championship back in 2004, was fifth in last year’s championship with a Ferrari 458 Italia and is currently second, with only two events to follow after this weekend’s visit to the home of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“I am looking to hold on to second in the championship really as we have a bit of cushion, and we need to be in the right place in case the championship leaders slip up,” he explained.

Having started the season with the Ferrari again, Balfe and co-driver Phil Keen changed to a McLaren 650S for the last rounds at Silverstone. “It’s a stiffer car with a carbon fibre tub and we are still getting used to it,” he added.

Not only has Balfe to get used to his new car, it will be his first ever visit to the Red Bull Ring and with regular co-driver Keen unavailable due to other commitments, Irish driver Adam Carroll will be deputising.

“I haven’t even met Adam yet or shaken his hand, so that will be another first,” Balfe said.

But Carroll’s pedigree goes before him, having recently signed for the new Jaguar Formula E team, as well as being a former winner of the F1-supporting GP2 race at Monaco, an ex-F1 test driver and regular competitor in Sports and Endurance races worldwide.

This weekend’s races can be seen live on Motors TV.