EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH STARWORKS DRIVER NELSON PHILIPPE BEFORE THE SAHLEN'S SIX HOURS OF THE GLEN Nine months after his Indy Racing accident in Sonoma, California, former Champ Car World Series race winner, Nelson Philippe, is excited ...
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH STARWORKS DRIVER NELSON PHILIPPE BEFORE THE SAHLEN'S SIX HOURS OF THE GLEN
Nine months after his Indy Racing accident in Sonoma, California, former Champ Car World Series race winner, Nelson Philippe, is excited about returning to racing, joining Starworks Motorsport at Watkins Glen and making his debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Many famous F1 and Indy 500 Champion drivers like Stefan Johansson, Allan McNish, Olivier Beretta, Tomas Enge and Dario Franchitti raced with Starworks' Peter Baron. Are you excited to join Starworks Motorsport for that event?
"Wow, impressive list there. I will do the best I can for Peter and the team and I sincerely hope that we can develop a relationship for the future as I already feel very comfortable around the team members."
How do you feel since your accident? Have you been training, testing or racing since Infineon last year?
"I feel great since the accident at Sonoma. I have been training very hard and I am actually in the best shape of my life. I have been karting in Miami to keep my reflexes up and I got really good on the PlayStation while I was in my wheelchair so I know most tracks that I haven't been to yet by heart!"
Is this your first endurance racing event and your first in the Rolex Series?
"This will be my first race in the Rolex Series but I did do the Homestead race in a Grand-Am Cup GS Pontiac in 2003. I was on pole and led until the clutch let go halfway through the race."
What is the plan for your racing career in the future after the Glen race?
"Hopefully the Glen will go well and I can start to build a future in Endurance racing. After 6 years at the highest level of open wheel racing in the US, I feel ready for a change and I feel Grand- Am is a place where I can build a career."
What are your expectations for Watkins Glen?
"I'm a competitor, so obviously I am going to be aiming high but realistically if we manage to keep our nose clean and run a smart race, a top 5 is not out of the question. But this will be my first race and I am ready to learn!"
Your racing hero, Francois Cevert, won the US F1 GP in 1971 at the Glen, would that be extra motivation for you to do well there because of that?
"I think so, the Glen is such a mythical place and I'm so eager to drive there. It will be bittersweet regarding Francois as he had a fatal accident there in 1973, but I will do my best to do him proud."
How do you feel co-driving with Bill Lester and Kasper Andersen? What do you think you can bring to them?
"I'm super excited about partnering with these two guys! I know Bill from seeing him around the paddock and I raced against Kasper in SuperLeague Formula in 2008. They are both brilliant drivers but I am sure my experience in 2.5hr Champ Car races will help and I will also be ready to learn anything I can from them."