I started racing when I was 11 years old. Not because I wanted to, but because my parents thought I was too bored after school and needed something to do.
They sent me to a friend who ran a racing school for kids. Of course, I liked it. What young boy doesn’t like driving and going fast? But most kids start at 6 or 7-years old, I was a lot older.
But I kept racing. In 2011 I started racing sports cars. I was driving the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
In 2012, I won the FIA GT3 European Teams’ Championship and then raced in the FIA GT series and ADAC GT Masters in 2014 and 2015.
Like all race car drivers, I would watch other races on the television and I knew I wanted to race in the United States.
My chance came last year when I was at the test in Daytona in December.
My manager had heard that 3GT Racing was looking for a driver. I thought it was the right time. I was ready for a new challenge.
I talked with Paul Gentilozzi, about 3GT Racing, I had the feeling that this was the right time for me to make the move to America.
Racing in America is not like it is in Europe. Being a professional driver is the same, being focused and knowing what you are supposed to do.
In Europe we would race two races each weekend. The races would be one-hour and I would share with another driver, so we would each drive for a half hour.
But the races in America, the atmosphere of the races, that is very different from Europe.
The beginning is not like anything I know. With the anthem and the jets flying overhead, the parachutes coming down, that’s not usual for racing in Europe.
When I saw it for the first time, at the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, my first race in the U.S., I was surprised. All the drivers together, the mechanics and the teams standing in front of the car, listening to the anthem, it was a bit goose-bumpy. Very patriotic.
And again, when we were in Sebring. It’s a different feeling, but a good feeling.
My family is excited for me to race in the U.S., too. They came to see me in Sebring.
There are some things I hope to do while I’m in America. I’d like to visit some big cities and I’d like to see a NASCAR race, just to see what it’s like.
I enjoyed racing in Europe. But I’m very happy I came to be part of the 3GT Racing team.
I like the Lexus RC F GT3 and feel like it’s a good fit for me. It was time for a new challenge, that was my reason for coming to America. And I’m glad I did.
Now I have that challenge to race in America, I’m excited about it. I think Kyle (Marcelli) and I work well together and I’m looking forward to racing in Mid-Ohio and every race after that because each race will be a new first time for me in America.