Daytona 24: Rojas - Lexus interview

Memo Rojas was the 2007 Grand-Am Rookie of the Year and he returns to the Ganassi/Lexus team to team with Scott Pruett for the second consecutive year in 2008. He'll be campaigning this year's Rolex 24 in the ...

Memo Rojas was the 2007 Grand-Am Rookie of the Year and he returns to the Ganassi/Lexus team to team with Scott Pruett for the second consecutive year in 2008. He'll be campaigning this year's Rolex 24 in the #01 TELMEX/Lexus with teammates Pruett, Juan Montoya and Dario Franchitti. He recently sat down with us to talk about this year's race and the coming season.

Moderator: Memo, you're entering your second year in Grand-Am competition after never having raced a sports car prior to last season, what's your comfort level for 2008?

Memo Rojas: Well, I guess it's a whole different story. Last year, I was a rookie for the series and the 24-hour race was my first start in a sports car - and that was coming after two years without racing full-time, so it was a very steep learning curve. We had a very successful season last year. We were very close to winning the championship. This season, with no longer being a rookie and with Scott's experience, I think we'll certainly have more speed and more experience overall and it should allow us to aim for much better results.

Moderator: Now that you have a Rolex 24 under your belt, what will your approach be this year?

Memo Rojas: Well, last year certainly allowed me to gain experience. We didn't have a very good result. Part of it was due to the lack of experience in endurance racing and I think that should help me a lot in approaching this year's Rolex. I know now how to treat this race as an endurance race and not be 100 percent all the time. There's so many risks out there and it's such a long race that you just need to keep the car on the track the whole time.

Moderator: You'll be driving with Juan Montoya and Dario Franchitti, in addition to Scott Pruett at the Rolex. What do you think of your new teammates?

Memo Rojas: To be honest, it's an honor and a pleasure to be sharing a car with them. They are some of the finest drivers in the world and to be sharing the steering wheel with them, it's like a dream come true. They are unique drivers and very good people. I've already started to work with them and they're very professional. I really look forward to racing with them for a win because I think we have a very good chance.

Moderator: So what would a 24 hour win mean to you?

Memo Rojas: Well, it's like winning the Super Bowl of endurance racing, I suppose. I don't want to say things until they happen, but if it were to happen, it would certainly make me very, very happy. It would get a huge response back in Mexico. The people in Mexico are huge sports fans and they support us so much. With the driver line-up we have, we certainly have a chance and a win in this race would certainly make a lot of people very happy down there.

Moderator: Will it be a good feeling knowing you're going to tracks you've already raced on and know?

Memo Rojas: Yes. Knowing the tracks should allow our team to work much quicker. Every time you have to learn a track, you lose some time learning the line and braking references, etc. Now we'll be able to work at going fast as soon as we put a wheel on the track.

Moderator: What are your thoughts of all the new equipment coming into the series this year?

Memo Rojas: I think we made the right decision. We've proven to be very competitive with the Lexus/Riley combination. I know a lot of people were switching chassis and engine manufacturers, but we know what works for us. Riley is always developing new pieces. Lexus is the same way. The engine we had at the end of last year was very good. I look forward to this year with that same package. I think it will be strong. The new chassis from Dallara and Lola are a question mark until they get on the race track. But certainly it's good to have that type of competition because it brings more focus to this series, which is growing quite a lot.

Moderator: So what did you do this off-season?

Memo Rojas: In December, I went to Indy with the team for a physical and mental training week. I spent a lot of time with the team. I went back to Mexico for Christmas and New Year's because that's where my family still lives. I enjoyed some warm weather, some diving. And now it's back to work in January.

-credit: lexus

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas