Cyndie Allemann: "Japan is a new challenge"
Cyndie Allemann to make Super GT debut this year. Here's an exclusive interview she gave to Laurent Mercier, editor in chief of Endurance-Info.com and special contributor to Motorsport.com.
It’s in the land of the rising sun that Cyndie Allemann will be concentrating her efforts this season, with a complete program in Super GT behind the wheel of the Hitotsuyama Racing Audi R8 LMS entered in GT300. Originally, the ex-Matech Competition driver was to compete in the i1 Super Series where renowned drivers would pilot Radicals at select Asian venues, but due to the series’ late cancellation, Cyndie found herself in Japan.
I have a very good feeling from the car, but I still need more time at the wheel.
The Swiss driver was at Fuji Speedway last week where she was able to drive the car. “This test was very good, even if it was pretty short,” confides Cyndie. “The team wanted to know how I would get on in the Audi. For me it was a test and the team and I immediately clicked. It’s a totally different environment, especially in terms of the language. Luckily, several members of the team speak English. The Japanese are very respectful and always in a good mood. But still, the only worry remains the communication, whether it be on the roads, or in hotels and restaurants.”
A good feeling from the car
“The Audi R8 LMS is really very good,” continues Cyndie. “I completed a first session of five laps to get used to the car and the track. Then I was able to do about ten or so laps at a quicker pace. The car is straightforward to drive, with ABS and traction control, it makes things easier. I have a very good feeling from the car, but I still need more time at the wheel.”
She will make her return to Japan during the official test day with the firm intention to see how she measures up to the competition, in a GT300 class that’s very competitive. “I’ve driven in the United States and in Europe, and driving in Japan is a new challenge for me. I have everything to learn. I already know a few drivers who are in GT500. I also have to learn all of the tracks and I’m training on a video game system. For the test at Fuji Speedway, I drove a simulator to learn the line and I’m counting on doing the same for each new circuit this season. Although Fuji Speedway isn’t too technical, I think Suzuka will be a bit more complicated to learn. The practice sessions are short with only one hour for two drivers.”
Super GT will be priority in 2012
The Super GT program is priority this season. “I’m working on several things, but my principal program is the Super GT this year. I’m looking at what’s happening in Indy Lights or European GT. You never know… But what’s for certain is that I have every intention of shining in Super GT with Hitotsuyama Racing. It will be a lot of travel, since I’m keeping my job in Switzerland with karting and I still have studies to complete.”
It’s therefore a return to GT for the Swiss driver this season, after a successful 2010 spent at the wheel of a Ford GT/Matech Competition, both in the FIA GT1 championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On these two occasions, she had shown tremendous speed and it’s quite likely she will make herself noticed in Japan, as well as becoming an icon for the Super GT fans in Japan.
Check out this photo story from Cyndie's first adventure in Japan.
Translation by Rainier Ehrhardt
Big in Japan: Cyndie Allemann to race with Hitotsuyama Racing in the Super GT Series in 2012
Andrea Caldarelli lines-up for 2012 SuperGT