During last year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas I sat down with Dario Franchitti, reigning Indy 500 Champion and Target Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar driver, in his sponsor BorgWarner Turbo’s booth to get the Flying Scotsman thoughts on the 2012 season, Randy Barnard’s firing and his racing career – past, present and future – among other things.
It starts like this.
Shaun: Hi Dario, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. It’s great timing with Target coming to Canada this year, and I just want to start off with a light question. I saw you touching the trophy for the photo; as a reigning Indy 500 champion, can you tell me what that means at this level of your career? Have you reached the top or are you shooting for more?
Dario: Well, if you think you have reached the top, then you tend to stop. In order to be successful, I think you should have goals of trying to do more – and I do. I do so in a way that I race the very next race, probably the Rolex 24, whether it is the first IndyCar race or Indianapolis 500, there was always those goals to try to achieve. Shaun: Do you have an ultimate goal that you set for yourself long ago, or do you plan week by week?
Dario: Yeah, I just make short-term goals and I look ahead to the next race. With the new car, me and my engineer, Chris, have struggled taking on a car to highlight its qualities – I drove some corners with the right techniques, but I had to change. That was my goal in testing. I keep it very short-term. I don’t want to examine championships or races or Indy 500s. I never expect any races or any championships or any Indy 500s, so they’re all bonuses.
Shaun: Obviously, it was your first year with the new car. How did you find the turbocharged Honda versus the car you had before? Can you speak towards the differences between the two?
Dario: Well, there are a lot of differences. It’s almost a new car – it’s really different! Things like carbon brakes and different [inaudible] that I will miss. It’s all the amateur cases of the sense of what the car likes – how you get handling and the feeling the way you want – and the difference between success and failure is you. We struggled a little bit to start it and then felt it handled better as the season went on. Getting used to a turbocharged engine again was an ongoing process – and trying to make it feel like you want it again, working with the guys certainly in the early days – I thought the guys that were on it did a great job. There’s still work to be done though.
For the full-length exclusive interview, please visit the PRN IGNITION website.