Matthieu Vaxiviere says he’s confident about his chances at Sebring despite making his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in challenging circumstances.
The Frenchman, who is one of 11 drivers pulling double duty between the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 1000-mile FIA World Endurance Championship race, is driving for Wayne Taylor Racing in the IMSA race.
He will join the team for the remainder of the Michelin Endurance Cup but missed the Rolex 24 at Daytona when he was replaced by Fernando Alonso.
Vaxiviere believes the combination of missing Daytona, the busy double duty schedule and the challenging nature of the unfamiliar Sebring track will make for a baptism of fire this weekend.
“It will be hard but I will try to learn step by step and just focus on what I can do and what I know how to do,” he told Sportscar365.
“I think we’ll be fine. It’s a disadvantage just because Sebring is a really hard track, physically and also driving. I’m quite confident, we have a good car and I have a good team.
“There is a great atmosphere to help me so it’s fine, but for sure, [to have] the first IMSA race in my career in Sebring, it’s really hard.
“More than that, I have the WEC race on the same weekend. It will be busy but I’m staying focused and I’m looking forward to having a good result in both races.”
Vaxiviere explained he got the drive through Max Angelelli, who manages him, but also serves as WTR’s team co-owner alongside Wayne Taylor.
“Max introduced me to Wayne and everything and they checked the results, I did a lot of tests, and I’m in,” he said.
“It’s really good and I enjoy it. It was great too to be in Daytona and feel the atmosphere of an IMSA race and to learn a lot of things and the rules as well. It’s great, and I’m ready for Sebring.”
He also says it feels “great” to be trusted as Alonso’s replacement for the remainder of the season.
“He did a really good job in Daytona,” he said. “The level was really high.
“It’s not more pressure but I want to do a good job there as well. Again, just step by step, and bring the car to my teammates in the same position or maybe better.
“Definitely, at Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans I will be more confident for sure.
“I’m confident here but you know you can easily make mistakes here around Sebring, it’s really hard. Still, I will bring the car back to the pits in a good position and we’ll see.”