Former motorcycle racing star Dani Pedrosa says that the purpose of his Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe program with FFF Racing Team is “to have fun” on the steep learning curve of discovering four-wheel racing.
Pedrosa, who has more than 30 MotoGP race wins to his name, made his car racing debut last weekend during the Super Trofeo Europe season-opener at Imola.
He shared a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO2 with LMP2 competitor Antonin Borga, finishing ninth and fourth in the Pro-Am class across the two 50-minute races.
Pedrosa told Sportscar365 that he is first getting to grips with the notion of handling a race car before thinking about any future endeavors in sports cars, which this year has also attracted Valentino Rossi to GT3 and Jorge Lorenzo to Porsche Carrera Cup Italy.
His Super Trofeo program consists of three race weekends, rather than the full season. In addition to Imola, Pedrosa will drive at Misano and the World Final at Portimao.
“It’s to have fun,” he said. “Racing is my passion since I was a kid, and that hasn’t died.
“It launched with Lamborghini: I like the brand and the cars so much. Luckily, I met some friends who had good connections with some of the guys.
“They proposed me to do one wildcard entry at the end of the season for the World Final, but it was tight to prepare in time.
“So we postponed it and, finally, Lamborghini proposed us to talk to FFF and do something different. We did three races in order to feel it, see how it goes and try to improve.
“So I will have three races and three opportunities to be able to progress my experience, and try to learn more and more.”
Pedrosa explained that he encountered several challenging aspects during his car racing debut, such as adapting to the Huracan’s dimensions as someone who is used to having a different field of view on a motorbike, and learning how to get heat into the Pirelli tires.
His only previous time behind the wheel of the Super Trofeo EVO2 occurred during a test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where wet weather impacted the running.
Asked about the particularly interesting aspects of his Imola experience, Pedrosa said: “Warming up the tires because we don’t have any warmers.
“It’s kind of weird to go out and feel like you’re on ice for a while. That is one of the toughest things for me at the moment.
“My first race went OK. I got a safety car so I kind of had to learn about that.
“Then at the end, we were all together. So trying to know how to make overtakes… I don’t know the size of the car very well, and if I can get into a gap or not, or if I’m too late or early.
“Also, I found that when we are very close, I don’t see [much]. So I have to trust that the corner is there and I lose my braking point, because my visual reference is blocked from the car in front.
“So I still have to learn how to choose different points, to still have the right point for braking and going into the turn when I am following someone.”
Pedrosa admitted that he needs to develop a better understanding of how to race a car before outlining any future ambitions in his new hobby field.
He said that he “cannot answer” whether he would like to join nine-time world champion Rossi on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS grid.
The pair spoke at Imola and discussed the various differences between GT racing and bike racing, including traffic management in sessions where space is at a premium.
“I am a guy who likes to compete, for sure,” Pedrosa stated.
“At the moment I know I cannot compete because I don’t have any base or skill to control the car when I need to. So I still have to go and learn first.
“But as soon as I feel I have a little more control and skill, then the competition side of it starts to kick in.”
Pedrosa Interested in Trying out KTM X-Bow
While Pedrosa is taking his four-wheel adventure step by step, he has expressed interest in trying out one of KTM’s four-wheel racing products at some point.
The Spaniard is a test and development rider for the Austrian manufacturer and made a wildcard MotoGP appearance for its factory team at last year’s Styrian Grand Prix.
On four wheels, KTM is a GT2 constructor and had three of its X-Bow cars competing at Imola for the opening round of the Fanatec GT2 European Series.
“Who knows?” said Pedrosa. “[Miguel] Oliveira, who is a factory driver for us, already drove one [at the 24 Hours of Barcelona].
“So maybe in the future when we have, in the calendar, a good moment, we can maybe do a race together with MotoGP riders from KTM. Maybe it would be fun.
“The schedule is busy. You have to be lucky that it’s not on the same weekend.”