Reid Harker says if he and Team Porsche New Zealand crew can reach the end of this weekend’s Spa 24 Hour, then they should be within a chance of sealing a class win.
Harker is making his international GT3 debut this weekend in one of the toughest endurance races in the world.
The former Carrera Cup and Toyota 86 racer will be one of four drivers steering the Team Porsche New Zealand 911 GT3 R in the Pro-Am class.
He is joined by fellow Kiwi Will Bamber and international drivers Adrian Henry D’Silva and Carlos Rivas.
While it is Harker’s and the team’s first time at the Spa 24 Hour, Harker has faith in the package underneath him to deliver a solid result.
“I would like to say yes,” Harker told Velocity News when asked if the team can win their class.
“We have a strong driver line-up, and I think we will be competitive if we get to the end.
“I haven’t looked at the entry list too much, but there are about three or four other competitors in our class who will also be really good.”
Earl Bamber Motorsport will be running the entry over the weekend, a team Harker knows well.
He was supposed to race with the outfit in last year’s Asian Porsche Carrera Cup before Covid-19 disrupted his plans.
Due to the pandemic, Harker hasn’t spent much time behind the wheel of a race car these past few months.
He agrees it will be a difficult task racing against drivers with more experience. Still, he is remaining confident in his ability.
“I’ve been in nothing, really,” he said.
“It has been about a year and a half since I last drove a race car.
“But you don’t lose touch. It all comes back naturally after a few laps of practice.
“It is going to be a bit of a challenge racing against guys who are racing every weekend, like Earl [Bamber].
“But it is such a long and brutal race where anything can happen.
“We will do our best and see what happens.”
With only a handful of days of practice, Harker has to trust the team’s engineers to develop a race-winning car in time for the start of the 24 Hours.
“You never really get much running time,” he said.
“You only get practice on the Thursday and Friday before your straight into the race.
“So, you are always pushing to the maximum. You then have to lean on the engineers to develop the car as fast as possible.
“I haven’t been in this environment before, so it will be a challenge, but we have done our homework and should be good.”
Harker has been training in Europe for the past five weeks with Kiwi driver Brendon Leitch, who is racing in the Creventic endurance championship.
Likewise, he jokingly boasts about his experience around Spa, which is limited to a Citroen C1 endurance race – a far cry from a GT3 machine.
Despite the nerves he admits that will come over the weekend, Harker is soaking in all the excitement before the big race.
“Obviously, nerves are there, and there will probably be more nerves later on in the week.
“But it is all excitement at the moment.”
The Spa 24 Hour begins at 2.30 am NZT on August 1.