The Portuguese is contesting an ambitious GT racing program with Audi customer teams.
Your program in 2016 includes two commitments with Audi. In Italy, you immediately started the season with a victory and upped the ante on the second race weekend.
I’m happy about competing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and in the Italian GT Championship with Audi Sport Italia. The team has clearly grown since I raced for WRT a few years ago. I’m sharing the cockpit with the Brazilians Sérgio Jimenez and Rodrigo Baptista. In Emilio Radaelli’s team in Italy, I drove an Audi for the first time in 2009. In 2010, I was the championship runner-up. This season, Marco Mapelli is my teammate. Victory in the season opener at Monza was a wonderful return. Following our second and first places at Imola, we’re now in second place of the standings with a one-point deficit.
You were intimately familiar with the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS. What are the hallmarks of the second generation?
The new car is impressive. The engineers reflected about the R8 LMS in every detail and came up with many solutions that are useful, not least for the customer teams in particular. The cockpit is very ergonomic. This clearly makes the driver change between pros and gentlemen drivers easier. Due to the steering wheel and pedal adjustments, every driver can quickly and easily adjust the car to their physique. The aerodynamic downforce is impressive, too. It’s a genuine race car but we should never forget that it directly stems from the production model.
What goals have you set yourself this season?
In the Endurance Cup, I’d like to help our gentleman driver Rodrigo Baptista develop his driving skills well. The plan is for him to be in contention for podium results next year at the latest. In Italy, our objective is a different one. As our racing successes show, it’s about titles for us. Marco and I are in contention for the championship.
Further information about the official fuel consumption figures and official, specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the “Guide to fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of new cars,” which is available free of charge from all sales outlets and from DAT (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH), Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (http://www.dat.de).