Stoffel Vandoorne’s Baku diary - Friday

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Baku diary - Friday

We flew to Baku on Wednesday and immediately saw the scale of the event and the circuit which looks very exciting indeed. It was nice as well to be with the team some more and get to know everyone and how the team works. I have a great feeling for the team and of course it is great to have Thierry (Boutsen) here.

My first impressions of Baku are that it is a very friendly, impressive city. There are some big buildings and a very vibrant atmosphere. It seems there is a massive enthusiasm for the event and I am very happy to be here in Baku racing in the Boutsen-Ginion McLaren MP4-12C.

We went around the track in a taxi and also this afternoon on a track walk with the team. It certainly will have some unique challenges and will test us as drivers. They are still finishing some parts of the track which is normal for a street circuit but it will be a very cool place to drive at and especially in a GT car like the McLaren.

The track looks like it will be very distinctive because it is very wide and then very narrow at different points. The start and first sector will be spectacular because there is a very tight chicane and then a tight hairpin which will be a good overtaking opportunity.

After that our McLaren took part in a fantastic parade with most of the grid going down to the city centre giving the fans and residents a great close up look at the FIA GT Series cars. It was a great atmosphere as it started to get dark and the lights and noise must have been a very impressive sight.

For me I see the first running tomorrow as perhaps a good level playing field for me making my first start in the FIA GT Series. All the other guys have to learn the track as well so it gives me the opportunity to get in to the groove which I am sure will not take too long at all. I drove the car at Zolder but since then I drove my World Series car so I will need to get re-acclimatised to the GT McLaren.

I know my team mate Frederic Vervisch really well. We have been great friends for most of our lives and used to race karts together. He has taught me quite a lot from karting and also showing me around the McLaren MP4-12C. We do a lot of training together as well and are even from the same town in Belgium. I am sure we can prove to be a great team at Baku this weekend.