Checked with… Lucas di Grassi
In the joint tests of Audi, BMW und Mercedes-Benz, held last week at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring, sports-car driver Lucas di Grassi made his first appearance behind the wheel of a DTM Audi. In our Q&A, the Brazilian who also has been racing in Formula 1 talks about his experiences in the cockpit of the Audi RS5 DTM.
How would you assess your first DTTM test?
This was a great experience and I’d like to thank Audi for having offered me this opportunity. At the same time, it also was my first outing at the Red Bull Ring. The RS 5 DTM is a fascinating car. It took me just a short time to really feel at home in the vehicle and find its limit. DTM is a series on the highest level and quite obviously, you need a special style of driving for taking the RS 5 DTM to its limit. It was a pity that the permanently changing weather conditions threw a spanner in our plans. Consequently, comparing the times was virtually useless. Nonetheless, the test was an extremely positive experience.
You raced single-seaters throughout your career but since a year you are a sports-car driver. How does a DTM vehicle compare to your sports car?
I think there isn’t a touring car series worldwide that is as close to LMP racing as DTM. The RS 5 DTM produces a lot of downforce and is a relatively light car. And its brake performance is just amazing. Thanks to the carbon brakes and the downforce you can brake extremely late and the car remains stable. It was great to see that Mattias Ekström and I generally share the opinions regarding the car. Our driving techniques and our feedback to the engineers were very similar.
Do you see your future in DTM?
No. One of the reasons for this test was that rookies also were allowed to take part – and in a DTM car I am a rookie. I’ve got a mid-term deal with Audi and focus fully on the LMP programme I also will be involved in next year. I hope that my mix of Formula 1 and LMP experiences and my feedback could help the DTM colleagues jus a little bit – although I’m aware that the drivers and the stuff of Audi’s DTM programme are excellent and exactly know what to do without me.