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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Luca Ghiotto

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass featuring sportscar newcomer Luca Ghiotto…

Photo: Luca Ghiotto

FIA Formula 2 Championship front-runner Luca Ghiotto has made the move from open-wheel racing into sports cars for 2020.

The Italian has signed with R-Motorsport as part of the team’s SRO GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS driver lineup after four years in F2, where he won five times.

Ghiotto made his debut for the team in the No. 62 Pro-Am Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, which opened the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season.

However, after a scary crash for co-driver Marvin Kirchhoefer in qualifying, the car did not make the start of the race at Mount Panorama.

Ghiotto will open the GTWC Europe season at his home race in Monza, a track the 24-year old knows well through his single-seater upbringing.

You’ve now transitioned from Formula 2 into the sports car racing scene this year. Tell us a little bit about the story behind this.

“We’ve been talking since the end of 2018 so it was not just the end of last year but even before that. I’ve been in F2 a long time so I wanted fresh air and I feel like GT3 now is probably the best series to go to.

“It’s always growing every here, I mean just look at the entry list that was at Bathurst, it’s crazy. R-Motorsport is also a great team and they’re on top of their game right now; we were a bit unlucky at Bathurst but it’s just one race.

“I felt like it was the perfect decision for me and as I said after four years in F2 I didn’t really feel like I wanted to keep going there, it was time for a change.”

GT3 cars are remarkably different compared to Formula 2 cars. How have you found it adapting to the new style?

“It’s been tough. I did one day of testing before Bathurst which all of us drove in on one day so I think I probably only drove 20 or 30 laps.

“It was tough, but on the European tracks its much easier because you have more space whereas at Bathurst it was quite difficult because you’re always careful of making mistakes. You learn while being scared, which is not easy.

“Towards the middle of the weekend, I started to get more of a feeling of the car and I honestly think we could have been good in the race. I just can’t wait for Monza because I think we will do well.”

What kind of experience have you brought from the F2 world to R-Motorsport?

“I think F2 is famous quite a lot for tire saving and I think that’s something that could really help me here a lot. I know that these tires shouldn’t have that problem but still, sometimes it can happen, so I think that’s for sure one thing that I can carry on.

“One other thing is the race craft; in long races, you always tend to manage and then it’s only certain parts of the race where you can attack, so I need to remember how I was doing it in the sprint races in F2.”

You’ve got a full season of GT World Challenge Europe coming up in a few months. What can we expect from you this year?

“I’m looking forward to that a lot. My first race is in Monza which is my home circuit so that makes it more exciting for me and I just can’t wait to be there.

“I think it’s tough to set goals right now because it’s such a competitive championship and there’s so many manufacturers around, you never know which one is going to be the fastest at each track.

“So I just want to focus on myself and learn as much as I can about GT3 from my teammates because they’re really fast. It’s tough to predict what we can do.”

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