George King stood on the podium for a seventh successive event at round two of the Ligier European Series over the weekend, but left the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari insisting that he wanted more.
The rising British sportscar talent added a third top three finish — from four races — to his early Ligier tally, continuing his run of podium appearances from a successful winter in the Gulf Radical Cup, where he comfortably claimed his first motorsport title. However, the 21-year-old Essex native was quick to identify areas where he could have improved his Italian weekend behind the wheel of the Monza Garage team's JSP4 prototype.
With King sharing driving duties alongside Italian Ronnie Valori, the #23 machine was a consistent fourth-fastest through the two free practice sessions that opened the weekend, and rose briefly to claim third spot in the first of Friday's two qualifying sessions, before reverting to the outside of row two in the second.
"Imola is a mega track to drive, but also very challenging," King noted. "It was my first ever visit to the circuit and, with less than an hour's practice, I probably shouldn't be too upset about the results we got in qualifying, especially with less than two years of racing under my belt and going up against far more experienced drivers, many of whom had the chance to test the car over the winter. We just struggled to unlock the potential pace of the car and that confined us to row two for both races."
Opening a packed programme of sportscar racing on Saturday morning, the Ligier series again put on an exciting encounter, with multiple lead changes and a late podium charge from the Monza Garage duo. The #23 car conceded a spot in the opening lap melée but then held fourth place through to the mid-race pit-stop window. Once the driver change shuffle had worked itself out, however, King and Valori found themselves in position to challenge for the top three, eventually claiming the final step of the podium eight laps from the chequered flag.
Race two told a similar story only, this time, it was the Monza Garage duo being denied further silverware as a recovery drive saw the #23 passed for third a few laps from home. Again running fourth on the road through to the mandatory pit-stop, the black machine was twice elevated to third in the second half of the race, only to fall back with five laps to run.
"Of course, I'm happy with another podium, but I'm equally frustrated it wasn’t more," King reflected. "Imola took my streak of having at least one podium to seven consecutive race meetings this year, and that's not a bad streak to have. Thanks to my team-mate for a mega drive this weekend, and to Monza Garage for a great effort in ensuring we again had a car that could contend for the podium.
"Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result, especially considering the pace of the car this weekend and the levels I’ve jumped since starting my racing career, but I'm always looking — and working — for more. I got used to that winning feeling in the Gulf Radical Cup and I really want to experience it again in the Ligier European Series. Our full focus is now on the next round, the biggest one of the season, in support of the Le Mans 24 Hours. That would be a special place to put my sponsors Goldcrest Oil, Blue Ocean Yacht Supply and BCG Investments back on the top step of the podium!"
Round three of the Ligier European Series takes place at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans over the weekend of 8-11 June.