Wednesday, January 7, 2009

“Every driver wants this chance” Lucas Ordoñez

GT Academy winner Lucas Ordoñez chats to about winning the competition, life as a racing driver and overcoming fear.

How would you sum up the GT Academy at Silverstone?

The GT Academy Final was full of surprises. The tests were tougher that I had expected, especially the physical tests which left us all exhausted. Taking the driving tests was an incredible experience. We drove all kinds of cars, such as a Formula Silverstone, a Caterham Seven, a Nissan 350z and the most spectacular of them all, the Nissan GT-R.

How has your life changed since your win?

My life has changed completely. I’ve done many interviews and I spend hardly any weekends in Madrid because I am competing in the UK. It’s hard work because I have to share my time between my MBA and training for the competition, but I’ve received a lot of support, including phone calls from people I haven’t spoken to since I was a kid, which is fantastic.

Has your opinion of the world of motor racing changed now that you are involved in it?

Honestly, it is a world that you have to see from inside to fully appreciate. The world of motor racing is extremely complex and there are many factors that you have to consider and be aware of if you want to win.

How much do you feel you have improved?

I am taking advantage of having the GT Academy team on hand to give advice, and I feel that my driving skills are improving with each week. Getting used to the car also helps me go faster.

Were you nervous as you lined up for your first real race?

Yes, I’m a little nervous each time I race - it’s normal. You have to be focused and aware of all the things that will help you compete.

Does the possibility of a serious crash scare you?

It is my opinion that if you are scared of a race, then you shouldn’t be there. I try to overcome my fear with confidence. I have a lot of respect for racing and I try to do the best I can every time.

How do other drivers respond to you when they find out that you have come through the GT Academy?

In the beginning, most of the other drivers were surprised to hear about GT Academy, and that we were competing with the support of PlayStation. Nobody mentions it any more though as we are competitors just like everyone else.

Which single piece of advice has stayed in your mind since you embarked on this journey?

There are many as I have received a lot of good advice, but every day I wake up and remember that this is the opportunity I have been dreaming of for a long time. I am committed to making the most of it, meeting new people and gaining fresh experiences.

Do you think that playing videogames can ever prepare you for real life racing?

Playing Gran Turismo improves my reflexes and helps me with braking references for each corner. The biggest difference, however, is that in Gran Turismo, I can correct my mistakes easily. When racing for real, one mistake can be terrible.

Which has been your favourite car so far?

Before GT Academy my favourite car was the Porsche 911 Turbo but now, without doubt, it is the Nissan GT-R.

Have there been any low points, where you thought you were out of your depth?

The beginning was hard because I had to get used to new cars, new people and different circuits all the time, but now I feel comfortable and happy.

How are you feeling about the prospect of racing for 24 hours in Dubai?

Getting to race with the Nissan PlayStation team is a dream come true; every driver wants this chance. Now I have it and I will try my best to win in Dubai. Read more