Path to Brazil: Meet Nelson Piquet Jr., Driver, X Team Racing
From European open-wheel racing to American stock car racing, there’s not much that Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr. hasn’t done. He’s reached the upper echelons of the former, spending two years in Formula One, and taken multiple victories in the latter, scoring victories in two of NASCAR’s top three series last year.
In 2013, Piquet will add another discipline to his resume, competing in Global Rallycross at X Games with X Team Racing in a Mitsubishi Evo. As he prepares to take on a brand new challenge, Piquet discussed his optimism for the sport’s growth and expectations for his debut:
What inspired you to try running in Global Rallycross alongside your NASCAR commitments?
The series is growing quickly, and it’s interesting, it’s fun. It’s not the usual rally from point A to point B, it’s a race track where you do laps and I think it’s a cool series, a cool concept. I wonder why it’s not something that grew up earlier.
How did you put this program together?
The only thing I did was to show interest to some of the guys that put this together. They knew that I liked it, and they knew that I would want to take part in it if they put something together. So the team put this together, gave me a call, and I said for sure I would do it.
How much rallycross testing have you done? Are you comfortable with the driving style?
I’ve never done it before, it’s going to be my first time.
You’ve run a lot of major races across the world before, from F1 to NASCAR. In terms of prestige, how does X Games compare?
It’s one of those races where I think it’s a series that’s still growing a lot. But I’m sure it’s something that’s going to grow much more than what it is. I think it terms of the name, it’s a big deal because it’s X Games. It’s like the Olympics, but it’s a different style of racing. I still think it’s a bit in the beginning, but in five years time I’m sure that it’s going to be so much tougher and harder than it is right now.
Is there something extra special about getting to make your Global Rallycross debut in Brazil?
Yeah, it’s always good to be part of these situations. It’s the first time Global Rallycross is in Brazil, and the beginning of their history. And it’s the first time a Brazilian car is in an event like this, so obviously it’s special to be a part of it.
When all is said and done, where do you expect to finish at X Games?
It’s difficult to say. I’d like to make the final, and then from the final, if we have a car that is good, I would hope to give the leaders a tough time, just because I think I have the car control. And I think that mostly that’s what it’s all about. I think the car control and having a good car makes a big difference, just because it’s a road course kind of track. It’s not exactly like a rally from plan A to plan B.