Q. Tell us a little bit about your racing career, how your interest in the sport began?
My racing career began in 2010 behind the wheel of Ferrari 430 in the Ferrari Challenge. In the same year I took 3rd place in the Ferrari Challenge Europe championship – Coppa Shell. Then I started to drive a Ferrari 458 in the Pirelli category. Since 2015 I have participated in the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Q. How has racing in the Ferrari Challenge Europe prepared you for the Blancpain Endurance Series?
It was a good time. The championship has discipline and teaches you the technique of driving skills. It is actually the normal road car with modifications for racing. The championship is also for the gentlemen drivers, so there is no psychological pressure, so you pay attention more on your driving skills and technique. There is an excellent atmosphere for communication with our partners and customers, which is very good from the business point of view.
Q. Last year was your first attempt at the Spa 24. How will you approach the race (compared to last year) now you have experience of racing in the 24?
It’s an awesome circuit and quite a challenge! It actually was not the first 24h race for us. Before we already had run in 24h championships, but much easier ones. So let’s say that Spa was the first important and serious 24h race for us. It was a challenge. We had some technical problems but we had to overcome them, and we scored some points. Last time was about learning, and now we are well prepared, and to finish on podium is our target. I’m very much looking forward to the Spa 24h and I think we will be able to fight again for the win.
Q. Can you tell us about the drivers you’ll be sharing your car with in the 24 hours of Spa?
Davide Rizzo and Rui Aguas will be joining the KM team to drive alongside Stephane Lemeret and myself in AM category.
Q. Do you have any plans to race the new Ferrari 488 in the future?
Next year it is an obligatory rule. If we will stay in AM category we will need to drive a Ferrari 488. We will do the test days before, and let’s see.
Q. What have been your best and worst moments as a racing driver?
3rd place in overall in the International GT Open at Spa this year. I think that was probably one of my best races so far, coming from the back to a podium. Failure is always the worst moment, the moment when you are not able to finish the race for some reasons. But it’s motorsport and we must be ready to take a challenge.
Q. If you could choose one race to compete in, in any car, anywhere in the world, what and where would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything.
We will try to improve our results in the Blancpain Endurance Series over the next season. And there is more… In 2017 we will introduce many new exciting initiatives.
Q. You are currently helping Antonio Fuoco reach his goal of racing in F1. Are we going to see you in the future helping young GT drivers too?
We are searching and we are following different championships. One day we found Antonio Fuoco and since 2013, Kaspersky Motorsport has been supporting him through the Ferrari Driver Academy program. Antonio has been showing good results in the GP3 championship, and we are providing him with all the support he needs for success on the race track, and his future participation in Formula One. We also have one 8 year old young Italian driver who is just starting his racing career in karts, and we’re confident he’s a star of the future.
Q. How do you find the time to be Chief Sales Officer of one of the most successful Internet security companies, and be a successful team owner and racing driver?
Business is from Monday until Friday and the race weekend is Saturday and Sunday.
Q. Can you tell us about your relationship with Ferrari, both on as a driver and a partner? How did it begin?
The partnership between Kaspersky Lab and Ferrari, which began in 2010, reflects the two companies’ aspirations for long-standing, mutually rewarding business ties. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to find the right approach. In October 2015 we signed the next sponsorship contract for five years, from 2017 to the end of 2021 season.
We are deeply embedded with Ferrari, not like a sponsor, we are a pure technical partner. I think Ferrari is the only team which picks its partners, not the other way round, and this is great for us and gives us huge visibility.
One result of the contract is the launch of the Kaspersky Motorsport project that covers all of Kaspersky Lab’s activities in this area. From participation in GT championships and supporting talented young drivers, to developing concepts for protecting cars from cyber-threats.
We have focused on participating in the Blancpain Endurance Series and have been achieving some good results in a Ferrari 458 GT3 serviced by the Italian team, AF Corse.
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