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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Nicolai Elghanayan

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass with Marco Polo Motorsports driver Nicolai Elghanayan…

Photo: Chris Green/Marco Polo Motorsports

Nicolai Elghanayan has had an eventful start to his Pirelli GT4 America season. This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Elghanayan assesses the start to his season, learning from Paul Tracy, and more.

How as the season gone from your standpoint so far?

“The season is going great, obviously we would be a lot happier without the two accidents, but in terms of speed for the KTM X-Bow, we could not be happier.

“We were struggling last season with the overall race-ability of the car and now we have a more stable car that could go for the championship. I just need to step up my game and start bringing the points.”

Do you feel that the incident and subsequent rebuild at/following St. Pete helped build a stronger bond with the team?

“The incident at St. Petersburg was unfortunate of course, but it was a great test for me and the team to learn how to come back from such a big crash.

“Everyone did an amazing job staying calm and just getting all that work done on the spot. They made a miracle happen to get that spare car race ready for the next weekend.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the team I am working with, thanks to everyone at Muellierized and MarcoPolo Motorsport.”

What are some of the biggest differences in the previous-gen KTM X-Bow GT4 to the current evo version you are racing?

“The biggest difference is all the manipulation we can do with the new gen KTM X-Bow.

“What this allowed SRO to do was take off a lot of BoP that was in place because they were worried that the lack of control on the car would let it be too fast.

“Now that we have the new generation, everything has improved a lot and we are quickly realizing how good of a car/team combination we have going for us.”

How was it having Paul Tracy as a coach at Long Beach and what did you learn from him?

“Paul Tracy was a critical key for me to learn the track as quickly as possible. He has a lot of patience and gave great insight after looking over onboard footage.

“I built a great relationship with him that I hope can carry over for future races.”

You have done a lot away from the track, with various charities and visits. What was one of your most memorable experiences so far?

“I think one of the most memorable visit thus far was visiting all those elementary schools in Long Beach, because during Roar by the Shore and Thunder Thursday I had a few kids come up to me and explain how happy they were when I visited them at their school.

“I cannot rule out the hospital visit either, it made my day to see those kids in critical care smile when me and two other drivers walked into their room.

“I’m visiting Children’s Hospital of Orange County in May to do a similar visit as well.”

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