IRL: Dario Franchitti: Chasing an Indy 500 victory

IRL: Dario Franchitti: Chasing an Indy 500 victory

IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti was able to find the time during the busy month of May, leading up to Sunday's 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile race for an one-on-one interview with Max Davies, Motorsport.com's UK correspondent. Franchitti will pilot...

IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti was able to find the time during the busy month of May, leading up to Sunday's 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile race for an one-on-one interview with Max Davies, Motorsport.com's UK correspondent.

Franchitti will pilot the Andretti Green Racing No. 27 Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) Dallara Honda around the 2.5-mile high-speed oval. The Scotsman (Brit) will start on the front row from the third starting position, he averaged 221.471 miles per hour for his four-lap qualiifying attempt on Pole Day, May 15th.

Dario Franchitti.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.
Exclusive interview with Dario Franchitti on the 2004 season, his future, hopes to return to road courses with the Indy Racing League and the May 30th running of the Indy 500.

Motorsport.com: How has the season gone for you?

Dario Franchitti Performance wise it's been a pretty good start to the season. Results wise it's been a terrible start to the season. We've had one 7th place finish and two non-finishes which is pretty crap. The comfort is that we've been fast in the three races to date so hopeful we can get a good result this weekend.

M.com: You must be pleased with 3rd on the grid.

Franchitti: I think third is pretty good but its one of those things where you're quite happy at first, then you start thinking if I had done this and that I could have had a realistic shot at the pole. Nevertheless a front row start is pretty good and should stand us in good stead for the 500.

M.com: Can you become the first Brit to win the 500 since Graham Hill in 1966?

Franchitti: We'll soon find out. I'll certainly do my best and I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could but I'm under no illusions that it's going to be difficult.

M.com: Can you win the championship?

Franchitti: To be honest I've not even thought about it because for this month I've just been focusing on this one race. After that, I'll be trying to do the best job I can to win every race until the end of the season.

Dario Franchitti.
Photo by Earl Ma.
M.com: Are you looking forward to racing on the road track in the IRL next year?

Franchitti: Oh yeah. I love road course racing and it will be a great addition to the series and I for one can't wait.

M.com: Is it more satisfying for you to race on those kind of circuits or on the ovals?

Franchitti: Both types are enjoyable and present different challenges for the driver but for me, having grown up on road courses, there's nothing quite like it. The challenge of doing a great qualifying lap or a great race on a proper road course like Road America is the ultimate thrill.

M.com: Are you hoping the IRL will present you with the opportunity to return to such circuits as Road America, Portland, and Mid-Ohio?

Franchitti: I'd love to return to Road America for sure. It just depends what contracts they sign with the prospective circuits but I have to say I'm not fussed where we go road racing, as long as we do.

M.com: Are you in contact with any F1 teams for next year?

Franchitti: No because I feel that ship has sailed for me. It never happened for whatever reason but I'm happy where I am in America but when I look at some of the guys in F1 like Baumgartner, Klien and Pantanto, and their performances, it does make you think about it. I've had a great career over here, challenging for championships, winning races which is something I was never offered the chance to do in F1. It would have been lovely had it all worked out but it didn't I don't loose any sleep over it.

M.com: Do you blame Jaguar for ruining your chances in F1?

Franchitti: To blame them would probably not be the right thing to do but the test was a farce from start to finish which was certainly not my fault.

British drivers from left, Darren Manning, Mark Taylor, Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti re-enact the Beatles "Abbey Road" album cover on the yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Photo by Ron McQueeney - IRL.
M.com: Does it bother you that yourself and the other Brits in the IRL do not get as much exposure as F1 drivers Jenson Button and David Coulthard?

Franchitti: No not really. It would be nice but it's not the prime reason for doing this. It would be nice to be acknowledged a bit more especially in the wake of the success myself and Dan have had over here. When you sometimes see the mediocre results in F1 and the coverage it receives, it is pretty disproportionate. But I think Jenson Button is doing a fabulous job and fully deserves the amount of coverage he is getting.

M.com: Would you advise any young British drivers currently struggling to get themselves noticed in European racing circles to follow your example and head out to the US?

Franchitti: I think each person has to make the best of the situations they are given. It's difficult to generalise I would just like to see more support for young British drivers whether they are trying to get into F1, IRL or any other championship. There is a great depth of talent there and the way things are it is so difficult for them to progress through.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jenson Button , David Coulthard , Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon , Graham Hill