|Q: What tracks are you looking forward to racing on for the first time this year? |
A: “Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is a big one for me and the next WEC race on my schedule. I’ve done a lap of laps around there virtually, so I’m really looking forward to getting to drive that track for real. I’ve seen a lot of great races on TV there over the years and always loved it - I can’t wait.
“The 24 Hours of Le Mans is obviously huge. It is one of the biggest races in the world, and the track is just beautiful. It’s nearly 8.5 miles around and just an amazing venue with it being half regular track and half a street circuit that goes blasting through the French countryside.
“Monza in Italy is another incredible historic circuit that will be amazing to race on.
“Going there to race is our crucial priority, but we’re going to take the opportunity to take a look around while we have the chance.
“There are going to be a lot of races in future years where all we see is the airport, the hotel, and the racetrack, so this year we’ll try to see some of the sights as well.”
Q: How important is driving these tracks on your simulator as part of your preparation for the season ahead?
A: “I do a lot of work on the iRacing platform, but there’s no question, nothing compares to the actual track. I prefer reality to virtual practice, but that’s not practical.
“SIM work certainly is helpful, but there are a lot of things missing.
“But It does allow me to learn new tracks before I race on them in reality."
Q: What were your impressions of Sebring International Raceway.
A: “I’ve tested here a lot in the Road to Indy at Sebring and was here last year before the USF2000 race at St. Pete, so I was already very familiar with the place.
“It is unique because it is incredibly bumpy and a real test for the car. In races like this, we're really testing all the parts and working out how long they can last. We're constantly putting tension on everything with the vibration over the bumps.
"It's a track that has a bit of everything. It's got some high-speed corners that challenge me to commit as a driver. It's got some passing opportunities – it’s a great place to race."
Q: What has been the most significant difference between sportscars and the USF2000 single-seater cars you raced last year?
A: "The traffic is handled much like we would handle overtaking a slower car in USF2000. We’re looking for opportunities to get around the traffic. It's a game of chess, but with added complexities. We're not spending the entire race following one car, trying to figure out how to overtake them; We’re spending the race following cars in our class.
“We are trying to figure out how to overtake them, but also how to use the traffic to our advantage. So it just adds another element to the chessboard.”