ABU DHABI // The long term rather than the short is uppermost in the mind of Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal ahead of this weekend's two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The series a support event for the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the Saudi prince arrives in the capital as the championship leader after claiming a win and a second place from the opening two rounds of the season at the Dubai Autodrome at the weekend.
He won the 2009/10 series but missed out on last season's title by just one point to Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa.
The prince won one of last year's races on the 5.5km Yas Marina grand prix track, and he is keen to repeat that winning feeling in front of 50,000 people, the biggest crowd to watch motorsport in the Middle East this year.
But he is not approaching the races on Satuday and Sunday with a win-at-all-costs outlook.
"The target, of course, is to match last year and get on the top step of the podium, but I am racing for the championship so I am just looking to get the maximum number of points available to help improve my chances," the Saudi Falcons driver said.
"That may mean showing some caution. I want to win, but I am looking at the whole season in my approach."
Last season's triumph during the F1 weekend was the highlight of his season; he said it helped raise his profile.
"It was very encouraging," he said. "There were lots of people there to watch, the sponsors were there, Red Bull [who sponsor his car and his race suit] were there watching, and for sure it was fantastic to be able to win in front of so many people."
The races this weekend will be in front of the biggest crowds that the Porsche GT3 teams will see this season, but Al Faisal does not expect any cases of stage fright among the division's drivers.
"We race in front of crowds of 15,000 in Saudi Arabia but, yes, this is the biggest crowd and venue that we will compete in front of," he said.
"But it is not an issue, honestly. As at any top level of sport, once you get in the car you forget about everything that is going on around you and focus on trying to push as hard as you can."
Ahmad Al Harthy, the Omani driver who is fourth in the championship, is confident that he can challenge the Saudi for the top spot after performing well in a test session at Yas Marina 10 days ago.
Al Harthy had finishes of third and fifth at Dubai at the weekend, leading him to declare that "there were many positives" for the Oman Air Racing Team. "At the same time, we know we can improve, especially as we had two full days of testing at Yas Marina Circuit last week and are well prepared for this weekend," he said.
Practice for the Porsche GT3 tour begins on Friday.
Also on track on Friday is Khaled Al Qubaisi, the Emirati who will compete in the Porsche SuperCup championship this weekend.
He is racing for Team Abu Dhabi alongside teammates Sean Edwards and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Practice and qualifying for that series, which is a regular support event of F1, takes place on Friday.