ADD Motorsports driver Mitchell Gilbert was lucky to walk away from the worst crash he’s been involved in that saw his debut in the GP3 Series cut short.
The Australian was driving at 230km/h in the rain during qualifying when he hit another car doing just 30km/h – causing his car to flip and drag upside down for 250 metres.
Amazingly, the 20-year-old was able to walk away from the wreckage needing nothing more than 10 stitches in his hand and a new helmet, although unfortunately it was his last outing of the weekend.But despite the setback, the racer is looking forward to moving on from Silverstone and showing what he can do in the next round.He said: “That’s my worst crash by far, but it could have been a lot worse, especially as the roll to support my neck broke – it’s meant to be invincible.
“I was pretty fast and feeling OK, but it was raining a lot and there was a lot of spray.“I was going about 230km/h down a straight and he was going at 30km/h for some reason, and I hit him.“My car went up and I landed upside down and it dragged about 250 metres on the tarmac.“It would have been a lot worse if I had hit the wall, but as it was, the steering wheel broke and my hand dragged on the floor.“When the car stopped, I walked away. I’m feeling a little bruised and I needed 10 stitches in my hand, but apart from that I’m fine.“The car was completely destroyed though.”
Mitchell was enjoying his first foray in GP3 before the crash, although knows there’s a lot more still to learn.He was 19th in practice and a second off tenth place, although was hampered by the red flag and getting to grips with the tyres.He said: “It was cool. We did our track walk and there were lots of fans around.
“Practice was OK, you do two laps flat out, then you have to go slow for a bit. I started off on old soft tyres and you only get to run on the tyres that are allocated for Silverstone - which were hards - later, so it takes some getting used to. “You don’t get a lot of chance to push on with the tyre. By the time you get used to it the peak of the tyre has worn.“The car is really fast, I got up to 268km/h and that’s the fastest I have got up to on the track, so the first lap was pretty intense, but I settled into it after that.”
Now Mitchell and his team have two weeks before the next race where he hopes to be able to show more of what he is capable of.He added: “The team were really good about the crash, they know these things happen and it wasn’t my fault, although it possibly wasn’t the other driver’s fault either – it’s just one of those things.
“There’s a lot to learn and it’s difficult as I’m 10 steps behind everyone else, but I’m hoping I can just focus on my driving again.”