Brendon Leitch had to pinch himself the first time he drove the Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3 he will be racing in Europe this season.
The Southlander was testing his new challenger at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, a track he had only ever tackled in the simulator.
“The first few laps I was pinching myself,” Leitch told Velocity News.
“[Spa] has been my favourite track for years, so driving there set it in stone for me.
“One of the first things I noticed was the track is a lot narrower than what it is on the sim.
“And I never really realised how steep Eau Rouge is until I came up to it for the first time – it is such a fun track to drive.”
Leitch is racing in three rounds of the Creventic Endurance Series this year with Leipert Motorsport, including a 24-Hour race in Portugal.
The 25-year-old recently moved to Germany, where he is eagerly waiting for his first race this weekend at Hockenheim.
To prepare for the race, Leitch says he is turning several virtual laps on the simulator and drastically improving his fitness to meet the demands of endurance racing.
“[The sim] has been a big help,” Leitch said.
“I use it as a training session for my mental stamina to help stay at the high-level of focus needed for the entire time I am in the car.
“I’ll do long runs at the circuits I will be racing at and only get off when I can’t focus anymore.
“I have also been killing myself with a lot of running.
“Running is the easiest thing to do around where I live. So, I do a lot of it.
“I am fitter than I have ever been before and never been so prepared for an event.”
Leitch has raced a Lamborghini GT3 before.
In 2019, he finished second in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Pro-Am class.
His racing CV also features gigs in the New Zealand Endurance Series, Toyota Racing Series and Asian Formula 3.
However, he says nothing compares to the thrill he got from his new car when he drove it for the first time.
“The way the car feels is not so much like driving a touring car.
“It is more like an F3 car with ABS, more horsepower available and very stable.
“And to get the last piece out of it, to put it on the very edge, is similar to a Formula car.
“It is the coolest car I have ever driven.”
Leitch was originally meant to head to Europe to race with Leipart last year before Covid-19 put paid to his plans.
But he says now that everything has finally come to fruition, he is ready to prove he can be a race winner from day dot.
“This has all been in the build-up since March last year when I was all ready to head to Europe about two weeks before we went into lockdown.
“So, everything has been building for a while.
“I am confident in my ability.
“This is my best opportunity to be I a front-running car, and I am racing with one of the best teams in Europe.
“It is an opportunity I am very fortune to have, and I am excited to show what I can do.”
The 12 Hours of Hockenheim will be split over two days due to noise restrictions.
The first half of the race will begin at 11.30 pm May 22 and is streamed live on the 24-Hour Series YouTube channel.