A vastly successful single-seater racer and ex-Formula One test driver, Luca Filippi is competing in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup for the first time this season as a wildcard entrant for Team Mulsanne.
Driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris on Goodyear tyres, here the 35-year-old Italian discusses his early memories of World Touring Car racing, his transition to WTCR and his hopes for the Hungaroring, the first venue on the calendar where he has raced before.
A young fan
“I have been a big fan of this category since I was a kid. Okay, it’s changed over the years but the DNA is still the same. I remember when I was watching those races on TV and they were very entertaining. Then I had the opportunity to race as the support event in Auto GP and I got closer to the paddock and it was really interesting to see the environment and the fans and the people coming to the races.”
“After I had my IndyCar and Formula E opportunities, suddenly the opportunity with the WTCR and Romeo Ferraris came along and it was very interesting from my point of view and now I have some TCR and front-wheel drive experience, still not so much, there is still a lot to learn from my side but we are getting better and better.
“For sure it’s really difficult, there is a lot to learn and it’s very different. There are so many different disciplines in motorsport but you still have to drive a car, they still have four wheels, but actually the way to drive and set-up the WTCR car and prepare yourself for the races is different so I am still learning a lot.”
Help at hand
“It’s important for me to have experienced people to work with around me, they help me massively and sometimes I feel that all my skills that I developed over the years, not necessarily useful in some particular situations so I have to develop new skills and find new feelings to race a front-wheel-drive car. But it makes it very challenging because I have to learn something new every day.”
“I am motivated because suddenly you realise you have to start from a white paper again and learn many things and get yourself on a new pad with new goals and learn a new way to drive a car. From this point of view, it’s not easy because all these guys in the paddock they have so much experience. All of them have won races and championships, specifically for this category the level is really, really high. We don’t have so much time and testing to learn but I have to learn quickly and before the end of the season I hope to get up there.”
Been here before
“I had never been to Zolder before or Slovakia Ring so it was not easy. In Hungary I know the circuit very well, I have been there and I also raced in TCR Europe last year so that’s very important. It’s very difficult circuit, very technical, especially in the middle sector where you have to find a good rhythm. You have to find rhythm, flow and if you make a small mistake your lap is over. It’s very important you work on fine-tuning so your driving has to be perfect.”
“It’s a very tight championship and we don’t have so much running and testing so it’s very important to stay in the car as much as possible. I have a good feeling and the guys working around me are working really, really hard and helping me in every single way.”