A conversation with Emerson Fittipaldi

Motorsport.com has a conversation with Emerson Fittipaldi ahead of the second FIA WEC event in Sao Paulo.

For several months Emerson Fittipaldi has been a very busy man preparing for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo. Getting ahold of "Emmo" is not easy these days. The two time Formula One World Champion, and two time Indy 500 Champion wrapped up his racing career in 1996, but continues work in Motorsport, promoting races and being a part of his families racing activies.

We talk about the FIA WEC, Brazilian drivers in the WEC, the ALMS/Grand Am merger and his recent test in a Formula One car.

What are you expecting this year at the Sao Paulo round of FIA WEC?

"We are very very pleased. We are expecting a larger crowd than last year. We made a big change on the concept of the race, it’s going to be a festival for families.

We are going to have a cinema movie for the kids inside the racetrack, we are going to have a lot of entertainment for children and teenagers. We are going to have classes for teenagers age 14 for road safety. We have an exhibition of collector trucks and collector cars. We are going to have a race for Superbike race, Porsche cup.

My new partner on the race is a company called Playcorp. They do big events in Sao Paulo. They have over 30 years of experience putting on events. The big events they do are the New Year’s Eve party, held in one of the main streets in Sao Paulo with over 2 million people. They do big events in Sao Paulo. Our main focus is to build up the festival.

Start: #7 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre leads
Start: #7 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre leads

Photo by: DPPI

We are going to sell memorabilia, hats, anything that relates to racing. That’s what we have been working to achieve. To motivate the young kids, the young teenagers to get involved in motorsport. We are going to have a very inexpensive tickets for families. Low costs to be able to come and see these cars very close. We want to popularize motor racing."

Why are Brazilian driver so competitive in the WEC?

"Bruno has all that experience in Formula One and is a very fast driver. We are very excited to have Bruno in the race. He can do well, he can win, and can win a championship. For us in Brazil, that would be great.

Fernando Ress is driving the Corvette.

The Brazilian people still don’t know the Le Mans cars. We have had grand prix for 41 years, but this is all still new to the public. It will get very popular over the next couple years."

Next generation of drivers? Pietro at Le Mans or in WEC?

"I was in England at Goodwood in June, and we were discussing the Formula One drivers, the new drivers coming into the World Endurance Championship. Its going to grow over the next five years. It’s going to open possibilities for drivers. Its so difficult to get into Formula One now, and this will give an option to drivers to go to WEC and be established endurance drivers.

Emerson Fittipaldi, with his grandson Pietro Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi, with his grandson Pietro Fittipaldi

Photo by: XPB Images

There are a lot of ex-grand prix drivers driving WEC. Mark Webber has confirmed for next year, and I think these opportunities will open for young drivers in the next few years."

Do you think FIA WEC is a good platform?

"I think it’s getting very strong and that more and more manufacturers are getting involved, next year they have a new challenge in the rules of P1. It will be an unlimited engine, whatever type of fuel, but you can only use a certain amount of kilojoules of energy per lap to burn. That will be a challenge.

It can have 5 litre, you can have 1.5 litre, but you can only have one amount of kilojoules per lap to burn. Whoever designed the most efficient engine is going to be the fastest and the less pollution as well."

ALMS/GRANDAM Merger, how do you like the idea?

"I like it very much. The category is going to popularize, the cars are beautiful looking they are as sophisticated as a Formula One car."

Did your recent test in the Formula One car bring back emotions?

Emerson Fittipaldi, local promoter for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo with Gerard Neveu, FIA WEC CEO
Emerson Fittipaldi, local promoter for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo with Gerard Neveu, FIA WEC CEO

Photo by: DPPI

"I was very excited to test the car, excited to run a modern GP car. The car has tremendous downforce, tremendous grip, the car is very balanced, its very good to drive.

Every lap on I got quicker, in 18 laps. It’s a beautiful machine to drive. It was different left foot braking, changing 7 gears. I only used 80 per cent of the capability of the car. Every lap I was getting deeper into the braking, the car has tremendous braking power. As I got deeper and deeper the car accepts more and more. It was a fantastic feeling. It was emotional to be back in a modern grand prix car cockpit. I enjoyed every second, it was great."

With files from Endurance.Info

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About this article
Series WEC , Le Mans
Drivers Mark Webber , Alexander Wurz , Emerson Fittipaldi , Nicolas Lapierre , Pietro Fittipaldi
Teams Toyota Racing
Article type Interview
Tags brazil, champion, crash, emerson, family, festival, fia, fittipaldi, indy 500, sao paulo, wec, win, world