After a year racing in the United States, Ricardo Sánchez returned this season to where it all began in 2015: Europe. The Mexican joined his Blancpain GT team RJN Motorsport last weekend for the British GT blue ribbon event at Silverstone, scoring the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3’s best result of the season on his British GT debut.
The 28-year-old from the Mexican city of Toluca is back in Europe after a stint in the Pirelli World Challenge where he fought alongside Always Evolving Motorsports for the Pro-Am honours.
“It was a really nice change for me to see new tracks,” Sánchez says.
“The tracks in America are pretty old school, they’re very dangerous to drive. It was a nice team to work with and we took four or five podiums in the Pro-Am class, so it was a nice year in which I learned a lot, especially as a pro driver to set up the car.
“The atmosphere is completely different from Europe: it’s friendlier, more easy-going. Here, there’s more pressure.
“I enjoyed being home a lot. Now I’m moving to England where my girlfriend lives, it’s a different way of life here.”
The weekend in Silverstone was one to remember for the RJN Motorsport squad, as their early-season struggles were forgotten when Sánchez and co-driver Struan Moore shot to pole position on Saturday. In the race itself the Rob Neville-led team just missed out on the podium as they finished fourth, but not before supersub Sánchez drove off with the lead in the opening stint of the 3-hour long Silverstone 500.
“It was a last-minute call to come race here. They were looking for a Silver driver so they asked me if I could come around. It’s good to help the team.
“Honestly, we weren’t expecting to take pole position. But we both set a good lap and the team managed to be up there.
“We knew the race would be hard because the GT-R is not very good in hot conditions, especially on the tyres, so we struggled there with the tyre degradation. And then we were unlucky with a pitstop: Struan adjusted the seat and when he left the pitlane it didn’t click in place and he went backwards and we had some problems. We had to change the strategy.”
As the bright sun blazed down on the Silverstone tarmac, tyre degradation and the issue with Moore’s seating position kept the Nissan from challenging the Aston Martins and Lamborghini for the victory. Sánchez, however, sees the positive in the team’s showing.
“This is racing—now we have to move forward.
“I managed to pull away at the start and we took pole position. I think it was a good performance this weekend, but we need to check what happened during the stints where we struggled.
“As soon as I’m racing I’m happy. I can’t complain—you have good days and you have bad days.”
A six-week break now lies ahead before the British GT Championship continues with its annual overseas trip to Belgium. With Sánchez’ effectiveness as supersub proven, the Spa-Francorchamps round could see him return to the championship.
“Maybe I’ll be back for Spa, but it depends on if they need me, if they call me—I don’t know.”
Jurek Biegus contributed to this report.