Paddock magazine is joined today by Lucas di Grassi, a Brazilian professional racing driver who currently competes for Audi Sport Team Joest in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and for Audi Sport ABT in Formula E.
Full name: Lucas di Grassi
Date of birth: 11 August 1984
Place of birth: São Paulo, Brazil
Team: Audi Sport ABT
The podium ceremony at Le Mans in front of more than 100,000 fans is something I will never forget.
What was your very first experience of motor racing?
When I was 10 years old, my father took me to a kart track 80 km away from São Paulo. He had some karting experience, but when I tried I was already faster than him! From that point on I started racing and realised that I wanted to be a professional racing driver.
How did you finance your early years?
Most of the backing came from my father in the karting days; from then on, when I stepped into the single-seaters in Brazil, I had some sponsors that helped me. When I moved to Europe to compete in the British F3, I made it to the Renault Driver Development programme which backed me all the way through European F3 and GP2.
One of the biggest challenges for every driver is to attract sponsorship. What is your recipe for success?
Together with my team I do everything I can to make the partners feel like they are part of the group. It is not just about simply driving around with a sticker but rather offering the sponsor and his guests or employees a real experience. I like this direct interaction because it gives me the chance to bring people closer to the fascination of my sport and a race series like Formula E.
How do you deal with the competition on the track?
Competition on the track is what it’s all about, it’s why we all love motorsport. I like tough and fair competition, going to the limits and taking risks sometimes. And I like it even more when we fight hard with our cars and have a good time together with my fellow drivers in the paddock.
What are your most important career highlights?
Maybe the biggest one is yet to come? I’m very happy to be able to look back on a lot of highlights in my career. For sure the podium ceremony at Le Mans in front of more than 100,000 fans is something I will never forget.