Williams will be desperate to go one better in the V10 R-League this season, having finished Season 1 as runners-up behind Team Redline.
After a hot and cold start to Season 2, the British outfit remains confident in their abilities and their teamwork - although their driver Kuba Brzezinski admits they could definitely improve on their pace.
We sat down with the Polish star to talk all things R-League; including his thoughts on this season’s format and the enduring strength of their main rivals.
Business as usual
Ahead of Season 2, there were quite a few changes among the teams that competed last year. But not at Williams, who was one of only two teams in the competition to retain all three of their Season 1 drivers.
Kuba believes this lack of upheaval has worked in the team’s favour.
“Our lineup didn’t change, so we didn’t change anything in regards to that. But we had to change the way we prepare because the format is slightly different this year. Now we need to prepare for all of the tracks ahead of each round and it’s a lot of work at the beginning, but then it’s just all about fine-tuning. The workload [throughout the season] has shifted a lot,” Kuba told us.
Williams started this season as one of the favourites to secure the R-League championship. With a good relationship forming between their drivers, they believe they have a genuine advantage over their rivals.
“We know each other really well already, it’s really been back to business as usual. There’s been nothing major to learn with the car as it’s the same. It was like coming back to school after the holiday - you already know pretty much everything,” Kuba added.
This year’s format change, which sees the R-League separated into two groups of five teams, has definitely spiced things up a bit.
So too has the way each event is picked, with the new “home” and “away” races and the pool of five circuits to pick from. Kuba believes the unexpected choice of track favours drivers who are already comfortable with their car - allowing them to fully concentrate on the track itself.
Kuba said: “You need to have a really good feeling for the car so when the time comes, you can jump to any track and be fast straight away. You can’t warm up on the track beforehand because you don’t know where you’re going to be driving.
“You need to be good with the car and good with Assetto Corsa. Whoever has that will be in a really strong position this season.”
The Williams boys will begin to have one eye on the competition as they fight for the top spot in Group B.
But first, they must achieve more consistency. An opening 4-0 win against JAESA Suzuki was a dream start for the team, but their 3-1 loss to BMW in Round 2 would have really hurt.
“We’ve got some work to do, that’s for sure. I think the biggest issue is we’re lacking a bit of pace." Kuba said.
“All three of us [at Williams] are really strong, but none of us are really up there with Kevin Siggy [of BMW] or James Baldwin [of McLaren], they are a bit faster than us!
“The way this format works, if you have one guy on your team that is clearly the fastest, you can easily win 3-1 or 4-0 even if the other two guys are not at the same standard. So I think we really need one of us to step up and find those extra few tenths to fight at the front.
“But we’re improving each round, we learn something new every time. We know where we can improve and we’ve already found a few improvements here and there. I don’t see why we couldn’t compete for the championship if we keep on working on our pace.”
McLaren is one of two new teams in the field this season, and naturally will be considered one of Williams’ main rivals in Group B.
With esports superstar James Baldwin in their roster as well, their early-season pace hasn’t raised too many eyebrows - despite their newcomer status.
Kuba said: “We weren’t too surprised by the pace of McLaren. We already knew that James would be quick, and we can see the qualifying times of each team ahead of each match so we kind of knew what to expect.“
That pace led to a 3-1 win for McLaren in their match earlier this week. A result that leaves Williams on the backfoot and requiring a strong result in their last group stage to ensure progression to the playoffs.
“Unfortunately for us, McLaren had only been in one round before facing us, so we didn’t really have a good reading on what was going to happen, but it was more or less what we expected,” Kuba added.
Williams will surely have one eye on the coming weeks and months of the competition, as they bid to reach the semi-final stage.
Naturally, it’s assumed they’ll begin to watch the results in Group A with some interest as they weigh up potential future opponents.
“We do have a look at Group A,” admits Kuba. “But it’s mostly out of curiosity - it doesn't really matter what happens there.
“Redline is looking strong, and the same could be said for Aston Martin. But Red Bull look a little bit disappointing at the moment. Further down the line we’ll have to study those teams a bit more, but right now we’re only watching them out of curiosity.”
As for the championship, Kuba’s immediate thought turned to Williams’ Season 1 rivals Redline.
"If I had to choose one team, it would be Redline. But they are in the other group so we only see their results and not exactly what happened in the match - it doesn’t tell the whole story," Kuba said.
"Aston Martin looks really strong, so do BMW and McLaren. I think lots of teams are going to be competing for the title.”