You must be one of the most experienced drivers to have raced around Silverstone. How much of an advantage do you think this is for you?
I have a lot of experience here in Silverstone with all kind of different cars. Formula 3, Formula 1, and GT cars. I did a couple of races in the WEC, I’ve also done a couple of races here in Blancpain. So it’s an advantage, but it’s not a huge advantage. Most of the other professional drivers, they have a lot of experience as well, so it’s important to find a good car setup and then you go flat out.
How different do you find racing in the IMSA Weathertech Championship compared to the Blancpain GT Championship?
Here in Blancpain we have ABS, it’s a little bit different on the BoP, it’s a GT3 car with different ratios. In IMSA it’s a GT2 car. Different tyres, they have Continental tyres there. So the main difference is obviously the ABS here in Blancpain. They way they (the cars) drive is different because of that. You can be a little bit more aggressive with the brakes, but the car behaviour and especially the grip level is better in America.
You have children; do they have ambitions to race?
I have 3 children, 18, 14 and 6. Girl, boy and girl. My son is 14 years old. He’s playing football. He has some experience with go-karts, testing and he did a couple of races. He’s good and he likes it, but I haven’t enough time to take him often to the circuits. So if you cannot do it, it’s not professional and it’s better if he does football.
Who do you consider to be the best racing driver you’ve raced against?
Michael Schumacher won 7 world championships. I think he’s been a fantastic driver. I had the opportunity to race with Alonso as a teammate I have to say that he’s another great driver. So I will say them.
How do feel your Ferrari suits Silverstone?
I had a couple of runs this (Saturday) morning. Wasn’t too bad actually. When I was driving I was P4, very close to the leaders, a couple of 10ths slower. The cars balance is not too bad. There is some understeer in the high-speed corners. So now we try to fix that problem and hopefully next session we will be better.
How do you prepare for the race in terms of fitness and nutrition?
Physically it’s quite demanding, but not as much as a Formula One car. In the Blancpain Series we are 3 drivers, so we do one hour each. It’s just the heat in the car, it’s one of the main problems, and especially when you do a race like 24 hours with 3 drivers. So that’s going to be a little bit tough. I used to do some work in the gym, I like to go on a bike, play football and tennis. It’s important to do some activity.
What are you best memories as a racing driver?
I’ve got a lot of memories, a lot of races. One of my best memories was the first time I drove a formula one car, when I drove a Minardi in 1994. My 1st race in 1996 in Melbourne and obviously when I won, but winning Le Mans in the GT category was a great result, great memories as well.
What’s your favourite race of the Blancpain GT season and why?
It would be for sure the Spa 24 hours, Spa is a fantastic circuit. The race is the most important race of the championship, it’s 24 hours. All the top drivers are there, all the top teams are there, so it’s really important to do well there.
If you had the chance of another F1 win or an outright win at Le Mans, which would you choose?
Probably another F1 win, yes (laughs)
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