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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Frederik Schandorff

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass with Lamborghini GT3 Junior Frederik Schandorff…

Photo: Lamborghini

Frederik Schandorff is one of the rising stars enrolled in Lamborghini’s extensive junior development program and is bidding to gain official factory driver status next year.

Last season the Dane won the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final and also proved his ability in the brand’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo competing in two different series.

Schandorff joined GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup for 2020 and has so far impressed for Barwell Motorsport, helping the team to win the Silver Cup class at the Imola season-opener alongside Patrick Kujala and Alex MacDowall.

Then, last weekend at the Nürburgring, he made a stunning start to take 13 positions and run fourth overall during the opening stint against some of the top GT3 talents.

How did you start out in motor racing?

“I started in karting, when I was seven years old, in Denmark. I started there on an airfield circuit where it was crazily bumpy on the concrete. It was really difficult in the wet so that’s why I always like the wet conditions.

“I went and did a lot of karting at some of the international races. When I changed to Formula Ford in 2013, I did two seasons there and did very well, almost winning the Brands Hatch Festival.

“When we didn’t have the possibility to continue in Formula racing because of the budget, I switched to Danish Thundersport. I worked a lot there to get some sponsors to be able to continue racing in Denmark.

“I was knocking on many doors and built up quite a good network, and my sponsors would invite a lot of their guests to my races, so that’s how I created my possibility to race.”

How did your stint in Danish racing, particularly the Thundersport series, help set you up for a program with Lamborghini?

“The driving level is really high there because we have many former professional drivers. Also at that time, Jan Magnussen was there, so I learned a lot from the older drivers.

“That’s definitely developed me as a driver, because it’s not a series where you can just enter and be fast. You need to take time to adapt to the car and the driving level.

“I could see that there were good drivers, so if you could do well [against them] you could also do well in another car.

“I was a bit stuck in Denmark for a few years because I didn’t have the budget to move to the next stage, but it was a good time. There are a lot of spectators; the biggest race is the Copenhagen street circuit race with 40,000 fans.

“Without traction and ABS, I learned a lot. When I got the possibility to get a shootout test for Lamborghini with Leipert Motorsport in 2018. They texted me because I did well in the national series.

“That was my introduction to Lamborghini. Then I came into the young driver program and now I’m working and preparing myself in the best possible way to hopefully get a factory seat for next year.”

How have you found your recent years in the Lamborghini ranks, first in Super Trofeo and then in GT3?

“I did the Super Trofeo Europe season with Leipert in 2018. Not the best results but we were really strong in the World Final. We finished third and second but got a time penalty in the second race, so we didn’t win it that time.

“When I came back last year for the World Final, I won it together with Jonathan Cecotto.

“Last year was a very nice season for me. I also won the Pro-Am championship in GT Open and was third in the GTWC Asia Pro-Am championship as well.

“It’s been a good experience moving to the GT3. It’s a different challenge but I really adapted well to the Lamborghini and I like the driving style you need to have.”

The Lamborghini development program has two stages: Young Driver for Super Trofeo racers and GT3 Junior which is a step above. How competitive is the environment?

“We have a lot of good drivers which is good, but it’s challenging as well.

“You need to have good results, not make mistakes and you need to have a good personality as well. There are many good competitors, but I think it makes everyone stronger.

“Now we have 18 in the [GT3 Junior] program, so to get the one official seat is difficult but that’s what I’m aiming for.

“At the moment I think I’m in quite a good position after winning the World Final last year. I also did a very good qualifying at Imola as the fastest Lamborghini driver.

“Hopefully we can win this championship and it would be a good way to show that I am ready and deserving of a seat for next year.”

What, do you think, will make you stand out from the crowd?

“In 2017-18 I was starting as an engineer. I wanted to try to finish university before I hopefully get a factory drive. I needed to decide at the time if I wanted to drive for Lamborghini or finish university.

“I decided to try racing because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I think it benefits me as a driver, because many in the paddock don’t know the physical behavior of the car.

“Even experienced drivers just say they want more grip here and there, but are not able to adapt and tell what they actually want to change in the car.

“[Having engineering knowledge] is very nice because you can have a good discussion with the engineers, because many engineers haven’t been in a race car.

“So if they don’t understand your feedback 100 percent correctly, it can maybe affect you in another way to what you want.”

What are you hoping to achieve over the rest of the 2020 season?

“At the moment, I would like to show that I have the full package.

“I would like to do both the starts and the finish of the race, so I can show that I can do everything. I want to show that I’m not only good in one area.

“And of course, we want to win the championship. The team is good, the car is good and the drivers are good. We should be able to win it without mistakes or crashes.

“It’s good that we are so quick, but the problem is that we are now not only focused on Silver Cup!

“Now we also want to be the fastest Lamborghini. Our goal is to win. That’s the main thing.”

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