Motor sports: Singapore's Sean Hudspeth wants to build on European Le Mans Series podium finish

Sean Hudspeth (centre) came in third at the Barcelona leg of the European Le Mans Series last month. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SEAN HUDSPETH

SINGAPORE - What a difference a year makes.

Just about a year ago, Singapore race driver Sean Hudspeth was struggling to carry out basic tasks like showering after breaking his ankle and tearing a ligament while training during his mid-season break.

The injuries also ruled Hudspeth, who had to undergo two operations, out of two of the remaining four races of the Italian GT Endurance Championship.

But on Aug 28 - exactly a year after he got injured - Hudspeth found himself standing on the podium at the Barcelona leg of the European Le Mans Series after finishing third with his JMW Motorsport teammates Giacomo Petrobelli and Matthew Payne.

The achievement was significant for the 28-year-old after a tough year of coming back from injury and narrowly missing out on the podium several times this season.

He said: "It was emotional. When you're racing and the adrenaline is going, you don't really have time to think about things and digest what's just happened but when you're on the podium, all the emotions start coming in.

"It was a great feeling, especially in such tough times. We came close to the podium so many times. It wasn't smooth sailing but we kept working and fighting and eventually, we got the podium we deserved."

He added that the feat was meaningful given the prestige of the European Le Mans Series, a sports car racing endurance series inspired by the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Hudspeth said: "It's a big deal because it's incredibly competitive. To even be in the top five is a big deal and to be on the podium and hear your name called out was really special."

His return to racing was not easy, but so determined was Hudspeth to get back to racing that he was in the gym training 18 days after his second operation while his right leg was in a walking cast.

He was back racing about four weeks after that surgery, but had to get into the car with crutches as his leg was still in a boot cast, which restricted his movements.

Hudspeth was able to start running again six months after he broke his ankle, starting with distances of 2km.

While he is still working his way back to full fitness, he said: "It's still a process - I would say I'm like 90 to 95 per cent fit, so there's still a little way to go. It's been a tricky road but it makes moments like this a lot more satisfying and emotional because you've been through so much."

His podium finish in Barcelona has only made Hudspeth, whose ultimate goal is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, hungry for more with two races left.

He said: "My focus is to perform well as a driver and improve myself. I'm always striving to be a better version of myself so over the next few weeks, I'll be working hard and training to keep my reflexes sharp.

"When you perform well, everything will fall into place and the results will come."

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