IRL: Dan Wheldon interview

Interview with Dan Wheldon on IndyCar racing. Matt James, of leading British weekly publication Motorsport News, recently spoke to England's Dan Wheldon about his forthcoming season of IndyCar racing which will start with the famed Indianapolis...

Interview with Dan Wheldon on IndyCar racing.

Matt James, of leading British weekly publication Motorsport News, recently spoke to England's Dan Wheldon about his forthcoming season of IndyCar racing which will start with the famed Indianapolis 500 at the end of May.

24-year old Wheldon will be driving a Dallara/Honda/Firestone - sponsored by Klein Tools and Jim Beam -- for Andretti Green Racing.

Matt James: How have you adapted to racing on an oval?

Dan Wheldon: I think very well - driving for good teams and having good people around me since I came to the US in 1999 has always helped. Every championship that I have raced in over here (US F2000, Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights) has included a separate oval championship within the full championship; I have always won!

MJ: Is it scary? What kind of sensation do you get?

DW: No, when the car is right everything actually happens very slowly.

MJ: Why did you go to the US and the Indy Racing League (IRL) and not a European-based series?

DW: I did not have the funding to move in to the British Formula 3 Championship in 1999; I thought the chance of progression up the motorsport ladder would be better in the US. The IRL this year (2003) is the most competitive championship in the world and I had a great opportunity with Andretti Green Racing.

MJ: Why is IRL better than Champ Cars?

DW: There are more quality teams, drivers and better engine manufacturers, together with a very good rules package that makes for very, very competitive racing.

MJ: What do you hope to achieve this year?

DW: To win races by the end of the season.

MJ: What are your thoughts on fellow Brit Dario Franchitti and other front-runners Michael Andretti and Sam Hornish Jr? Could you tell us a little on each as to how you think they are going to do?

DW:
Dario -- A very good bet for the overall championship; his style will suit the way the IRL points system works.

Michael -- The tracks that he will be racing at before the Indy 500 are tracks that he has done very well at in the past; if everything falls his way therewill be a very good chance of him winning. At the Indy 500 he will be one of the favourites. He has been very strong there in the past and will be a sure bet for the podium. To win, everything has to go exactly as planned and so, therefore, will be hard to predict. Who would have said Helio Castroneves would have won it last year, after seeing where he qualified and the position he was in after 250 miles?

Sam -- I still think he will be strong,but I don't think the package around him will have the same advantage over other cars like it did last year. It will be interesting t o see how he handles it!

MJ: Who do you think will be champion and why?

DW: One of the Andretti Green cars or one of the Penske cars. Both are very strong teams, I think the rest depends on circumstances and who makes the best out of the bad circumstances. I thought Gil de Ferran would win last year, but he missed the last race because of an accident that was not his fault.

MJ: What is you current female situation?

DW: Mind your own business!!!

MJ: OK, OK, so I snuck the last question in! You don't have to answer that one, because I will only use it against you at a later date!

DW: I appreciate your help with this . . . get typing!

-Courtesy of www.danwheldon.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam , Sam Hornis