Dean Stoneman. Overcoming adversity

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“Well my dad” – Colin Stoneman – “was World Powerboat Champion in 1995, and I’ve always been involved with boast throughout my life. It was basically just to enjoy myself really. After a while you don’t really care about the other bits and bobs. You just want to have fun. I even fly a helicopter in my spare time. I’m still young, and why do something if you don’t enjoy it?”

With nine victories from ten events, Dean waltzed to the P1 Superstocks title at his first attempt. It wasn’t long before Redline Racing were ringing the Stoneman household offering Dean a drive for the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain season. Incredibly, in his first race in a 911 GT3 Cup car, he took both victories on his series debut at Brands Hatch. Though a contretemps with eventual champion Michael Meadows led to a one-round ban at Rockingham, Dean still secured three further wins and an impressive fifth in the standings.

“A lot of people will tell you that the Porsche is probably one of the hardest cars to drive even when you get the perfect setup. So yeah, to have two wins at the beginning of the year was really good. Towards the middle of the year it didn’t go to plan but then at the end again it was going back to where I wanted it to be. Unfortunately during the last weekend, second to last race I had a little mishap, aquaplaned off-track and hit the tyre wall. But that’s racing, and to end the championship with a win, especially with a last lap move on Daniel Llloyd [again at Brands Hatch], that was really special.”

But despite calls from teams and fans to return for second season – and potentially a championship assault – Dean is keeping his options open. A GP3 campaign with Koiranen GP is his main focus, but that’s not to say the Brit hasn’t been thinking about his future career direction.

“When I was younger, my sister and I would do rally cars around the garden, smashing into each other, and that’s where I learnt my driving skills from,” Dean begins. “Actually I had a go in a rally car when I was sixteen and just out of karts, and that was organised by Mark Higgins [three-times British Rally Champion]. He recommended we try rallying full-time and unfortunately we didn’t take his advice. But during the winter in Britain I’m going to go and have a chat with some people and hopefully have a go, so you never know.

“I’m also taking part in a powerboat race from London to Monte Carlo next year. When you need 3/400,000 to build a boat and race from A to B it can get quite expensive, so I’m looking for a sponsor and someone to jump on-board, go out and have some fun in a powerboat for 4200km by sea. It takes over six days to get from London to Monte Carlo, which will be nice and rough, and it’ll just be another experience.

“So next year could be anything: it might be the Porsche Supercup, it might be GP3, it might be Radicals, it might even be Le Mans. You just never know, and I’m not sure at the moment which avenue I want to take. But I want to do this for a career and get paid for it!”

Though it’s tempting to push the Formula 1 question, Dean’s smirk and a casual shrug of the shoulders says it all: come what may, there’s still a lot of work to do. For now, Dean is happy to enjoy his racing, take his career step-by-step, and begin his climb back to the top. The going will be tough. But as we know, Dean Stoneman has overcome so much more hitherto.

– Shots courtesy of David Benson

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