Your first race in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro is just around the corner – the WEC round at Spa is on the agenda on May 3. Do you feel ready?
“The preparation spanned more than half a year and was outstanding. Audi inducted me so well that I’ve been feeling very comfortable in every stage of my switch from touring cars to sports cars. On Sunday, after my ELMS race, I watched the WEC commitment of my team-mates in the Audi garages together with Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis. Our race engineer Matthias Huber was involved in the action as well. Now I can hardly wait to start with Marco in the #3 Audi at Spa.”
What are the biggest differences to a DTM race car of the kind you’ve been driving for Audi up to now?
“The Audi RS 5 DTM I was still driving last year was great fun, very demanding and stands for the highest-caliber touring car technology. Still, a sports car is totally different. The centrifugal forces and cornering speeds are much higher, acceleration is better and during my tests in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro I got used to the complex operation of a hybrid sports car. The LMP1 race cars are the fastest category in the field. This requires maximum concentration when overtaking or lapping other cars.”
You just had your first race weekend in a sports car at Silverstone in the European Le Mans Series. With Team Jota Sport you were leading the race before one of your team-mates subsequently retired with the car. How were your first LMP race kilometers?
“Entering the world of the sports prototypes was huge fun. I’m contesting the European Le Mans Series in preparation for my two WEC races with Audi at Spa and Le Mans. I’m familiar with endurance race distances and the team sport idea of having several driver colleagues from my runs in the Audi R8 LMS ultra. But the ‘feel’ of driving a sports car is new for me.”