Andrew Herron 2008 Review

Northern Ireland saloon car racer Andrew Herron embarked on only his second ever season of car racing action during 2008 in the high profile SEAT Cupra Championship and underlined his outstanding progression with a tremendous year.Narrowly missing out on race victory during the penultimate event of the season at a very wet Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire, the 20-year-old from Dromore in Co. Down achieved a total of five podium finishes during his maiden year in a 300bhp SEAT Leon Cupra.Comprising four runner-up spots and one third place finish from the 20 rounds contested, the JHR Developments driver regularly raced wheel-to-wheel with, and defeated, a number of vastly more experienced rivals including double champion Jonathan Adam and 2007 ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion Martin Byford.Andrew, of course, started his own car racing career in Clios last year and after finishing ninth overall in the championship – from over 50 registered competitors – he took his first win during the four round Winter Cup which he ended as Vice-Champion.Heading into SEATs for 2008, a top six finish in the driver standings was always likely to be a tall order but the young Northern Irishman consistently produced performances far belying his minimal experience and quickly became a regular front-runner and podium challenger.“Stepping up to SEAT this year was always going to be a big challenge but we did a great job and I was very happy to end the year in the top five in the championship”, said Andrew, “We showed our pace was good enough to run at the front consistently and the guys at JHR did a fantastic job with the car, not only was it my first year in SEAT but it was also the team’s first season too.”While the opening two rounds of the 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent weren’t the most fortunate, it wasn’t long before Andrew was right on the pace and during the eighth race of the season he achieved his first category podium.This started a rich run of form for the Brian Herron Contracts backed racer, standing on the podium for rounds nine and 10 and racking up plenty of championship points. Tantalisingly close to a memorable victory during round 18 at Silverstone, Andrew still made two rostrum visits over the course of the weekend and ended the season fifth overall in the championship.“At the start of the year the target for the season was to try and get on the podium but we managed that after only eight races”, he explained, “The next aim was to become a consistent front-runner and podium finisher, which we did, so after that we wanted to win a race. “We were so close at Silverstone but there was no shame in finishing second to a driver like Jonathan Adam (2005 ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion and 2007/2008 SEAT Cupra Champion), especially considering I’ve only been racing cars since last year. All in all, it was a great year and I was very pleased with my performances.”SEAT withdrawal makes way for potential Porsche graduationJust prior to the final rounds of the SEAT Cupra season, an announcement was made by SEAT Sport UK the championship was to be canned and so rather than mounting a title challenge in 2009, Andrew has had to re-evaluate where he will be racing in the New Year.At this stage, he is aiming to secure the funding to graduate to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship – like SEAT, a high profile support category on the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship package.Having already experienced a rear-wheel drive Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of the kind he is hoping to race in 2009 with a run at Silverstone in October, Andrew is confident he would be able to quickly adapt to the demands of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.“With the withdrawal of SEAT from UK motorsport, it’s meant a big change in plans for us for next year as we were going to do a second season in the championship”, he explained, “We’ve already got our focus on Porsche Carrera Cup GB and when I had a run in a 911 at Silverstone it went really well and I enjoyed it.“We’re working really hard to try and secure the budget for Porsche next year with the aim of getting to the front as quickly as possible and then making the step up to the Porsche Supercup a couple of years from now. My main goal is to become a paid, professional racing driver and hopefully by racing as part of the Porsche family that could become a realistic possibility.”

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