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Sean Johnston: from racing a simulator to a career in motorsports
24.05.2019

LIEPĀJA, May 24, 2019

Every driver has their own story of how their rally career began, but for American Sean Johnston, it began with racing simulators, which are rapidly growing in popularity in various motorsports disciplines. After many twists and turns, he is here in Liepāja.

Sean Johnston ©FIAERC.com

“Simulator racing is rapidly increasing in popularity. It is a platform that many use for practice. I would support the idea that spending time on simulators should be one of the elements needed to get a racing licence. It would make sense for manufacturers to create real situations and see how drivers react in those moments. However, there is still some way to go until we get to that. Simulators have played an important role in my career. Unfortunately, I have not had as much time to spend on them lately,” says Sean Johnston. We would like to add that this weekend, the Rally Liepāja service area will host the final of the Latvian e-autosport rally competition EGP Latvia.

Sean Johnston ©FIAERC.com

After showing great results at the wheel of a simulator, Johnston initially started with touring car racing. “I did not do so well in sports car racing and we were in a difficult spot with our main sponsor, so I had to leave racing for a short while. Then, I got an opportunity to see the 2015 Rally Germany – it was exciting and I immediately fell in love with rallying. This was a chance to get back into motorsports and put all my focus on driving. I enjoyed watching rally on TV in my childhood, but the GT Academy moved me away from the discipline. We had taken a two year break, but last year it became clear that rallying is what I want to do. I am very happy about taking this step – I love rallying.”

Sean Johnston ©FIAERC.com

This will be the first time Johnston competes in Latvia, but, even before getting to the start, the American who lives in Germany says that the atmosphere has been great even in testing, and that he especially enjoys the beautiful Latvian countryside and forests. “We have finished the recce near Talsi. The stages here are extremely fast with great fluidity and rhythm. Roads are a bit wider than I expected. I believe that this will be really fun! You have to be confident in everything you do to be dast here. This will be a great challenge. Even though there is a chance of rain this weekend, it does not scare us. I have experience in driving on wet gravel roads, so this would not be a new experience. The conditions will be the same for everyone and we look at it as another opportunity to learn. That is ultimately my goal for this season – getting as much experience as possible. If it rains, it rains – we will enjoy this rally regardless.”

Sean Johnston ©FIAERC.com

Sean Johnston and Alex Kihurani will be competing in the ERC3 class with a front-wheel drive Peugeot 208 VTi R2. This year, Johnston’s calendar is very full, as in addition to the European Championship, the American is also contesting the Junior World Rally Championship, along with Liepāja native Mārtiņš Sesks. “Even though Mārtiņš Sesks was born in Liepāja, I have been too busy to get in touch with him. Still, I am happy to see that he will be competing in an R5 class car, I hope he has a great race weekend.”

Something that has already caught the attention of fans is Johnston’s moustache. Does it help? Laughing, Sean says that there is no doubt about it: “Strength comes from the moustache! To anyone who does not believe it – grow one and see for yourselves. It is a strong ally!”