BRDC British F3 Champion Linus Lundqvist appeared on the Sunoco stand at the Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC today (Thursday) and discussed his experience so far at the Rolex 24 at Daytona – his prize drive for winning last year’s Sunoco Challenge.
The Swede took part in the ‘Roar Before the 24’ tests at Daytona last weekend, and is hugely excited to get back to the legendary Florida venue ahead of the race itself at the end of the month.
The test last weekend was his maiden experience of GT driving, at the wheel of a Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3. “The tests were very much the first time for me in a GT car, so there was a lot to learn in the beginning.
“One of the toughest things is that this is the first time I will be doing an endurance race, so there’s a lot to learn. The two biggest things to learn were how the car works, it has ABS and traction control so that’s a bit different, and then there’s the traffic and learning how to deal with that. I’ll have a spotter for the first time who is talking into my ear six times a lap, which is very different to what I’m used to! I got some good miles under my belt and I’ll head into the race feeling pretty confident.”
Lundqvist is the latest victor of the challenge, and he admits he’s gained advice from some of the previous winners.
“When you look at the previous winners, like Phil Keen and Felipe Nasr, they’ve given me some advice and it’s pretty cool to know I’ll be racing against some guys like that on the track. This is the 10 year anniversary and to be one of the winners is an amazing opportunity. When you look at the entry list as well, and the people that have done it before me, and the previous Rolex 24 winners, it’s unreal to be able to do that race. To be making my sports car debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona is pretty big.
Lundqvist will also be on track at the same time as racing legends including Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya, and he’s looking forward to racing alongside them.
“I won’t lie, the first time I went out on track I was almost expecting a call from the spotter saying ‘you have Alonso in your rear view mirror’ but I didn’t get that call! It’s very cool to know I’ll have those guys around on the track with me.”
The Swede is used to sprint racing in single seaters, but the challenge of endurance racing means he will face stints of two hours or more during the race, including at night. He’s unfazed by the prospect however.
“I’ve never been in a car for more than 20 minutes and I’ve never done a race longer than 20 minutes, so it’s a lot different. Physically it should be OK as the F3 car is a lot more physical than the GT car as the Lamborghini has power steering, ABS and traction control, so on that side it should be ok. It’s just mentally, how I will cope with that, it’s totally new for me so I don’t know how I will react.
“Obviously I’ve tested myself at home in a simulator but that’s not reality so I’m really looking forward to seeing how I will cope with that. There’s driving at night time as well – I got my first taste of that in the Roar and that is one of the coolest things I’ve done – going into the stadium section where it’s dark was really fantastic and I can’t wait to be doing the stints in the night time.”
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