Davide Rigon, a dream red in the night at Le Mans

24 hours, a race, a thousand stories, so many protagonists. One of them, in the next edition of the French marathon that will start on Saturday, June 15, will certainly be Davide Rigon. The pilot of vicenza (he was born in Thiene, August 26, 1986) will once again be at the start with Sam Bird and Miguel Molina on the Ferrari 488 GTE official and does not hide ambitions: “we’re very well prepared and I also I trained a lot. The collective tests have been very positive. I managed to score the fourth fastest time less than 1 tenth from the fastest lap time was the best Ferrari driver, on a trail ride that lasts 3 minutes and a half. Of course it remains a race complex where it counts many things, the speed but also the reliability, and where everything can change: temperatures, weather, rain, etc. Many things must coincide: it is a very tough competition, not for nothing is one of the most beautiful in the world. The BoP this year is not so bad, at least at the moment (can be changed after qualifying, ed.). From what we have seen in the test, we can play. Then I just hope that there are no surprises like last year, when Ford and Bmw actually had 15 km/h more in the straight line. We were honest, we have not hidden our performance”.

A race that David knows well, as well as the 488 GTE that will be available to you.

“It’s a car well-balanced and this results in a high-speed cornering and excellent management of the tires. In general, this allows us to delay the pit stop compared to our opponents, and this “opens” the strategy. Perhaps the area where we are less strong is the power pure, but it is not a limitation of the Ferrari, but the BoP with which we run”.

And compared to the GT3, what are the differences in the steering wheel?

“The differences are few from the point of view of driving. The GT3 also has the abs, because it is a car designed to be conducted by non-professional drivers, aerodynamics slightly less refined and is slightly more heavy, but this aspect depends on the already mentioned BoP. The biggest difference are the tires, because in the GTE we use the Michelin tires developed tailor-made for our car.”

David tells us his impressions on the phone, shortly after having finished a session in the simulator of the F1 in preparation for the Grand Prix of Canada. The F1, the real one, and has had the opportunity to taste it at the track on more than one occasion, the first time even by a minor, but in his words, the satisfaction for the career that has been able to build far outweighs the regret of never being able to take the start of a grand prix.

For the rest, the pilot vicenza has never had an easy life: “I was 10 years old, my older brother and occasionally ran with the kart so one day I tried by myself and I was stronger than him. From there I started to compete in the first races, but right now struggling to put together the minimum budget necessary, because my family could not finanziarmi much. I owe a lot to the Othello Church, which has really helped a lot at the time of the karting”.

At 12 years old he won the Italian championship 70 mini kart , and soon pass to the higher categories: wins a lot of races even if the championship eludes him for some misadventure too. Among the results to be framed, a 6th place at the European, immediately behind a certain Sebastian Vettel. At that point, the recall of the single-seater becomes irresistible: he won at the debut in F. Azzurra, the equivalent of the F4 now, and it attracts attention of Giancarlo Minardi.

“Many people have helped me in my career, but I have to say that Giancarlo had a fundamental role: even gave me the opportunity to prove his F1 immediately after the victory in the F. Azzurra, when I was only 17 years old. The test went well: he offered to follow my career and I felt really honored. Thanks to him I had the chance to race in competitive teams in F. 3000, winning, and let me know that a Ferrari”.

Already that cavallino black on the shield the yellow remains a symbol of magic. But the weight feels to wear it?

“You can feel the great expectation that there is, in every race, because Ferrari puts us always at the disposal of the cars competitive. Be an official driver of Ferrari is a dream that came true, it was the first time that I was able to drive to the track, a single-seater from Maranello, and it continues to be so in any commitment from the official driver in the race or even in the simulator tests, in support of the F1 team. Of course, there is a great responsibility, but the Ferrari is also and above all a great family. Its extraordinary history and its prestige are above all an incentive to always give our best, to deserve to be a Ferrari driver”.

About the Ferrari drivers, now you are used to divide the cabin with team-mates: what is the secret to run the report?

“First of all, it must be said that combinations are defined by the team on the basis of criteria specific enough: the pilots of the same crew must be as similar as possible, both at the level of style guide, for the definition of the structure, both in stature, for the fastest possible change of pilot during the stops. Personally I have the luck of being very well with my fellow Bird and Molina. The secret? I think it is not wanting everything for themselves: for example, divide equally the time to help during practice, and leave space to them as soon as you’re done with the car, give up perhaps to the last refinements for itself to allow to the others to achieve a good level of harmony with the car and the track. And then help the partner if it is in difficulties. It doesn’t matter who does the fastest lap, but to win the race and to do this we have to go all strong”.

It also happens to divide the passenger compartment of the non-professional drivers, when with the GT3 race in the Pro Am category. In this case, what is the relationship?

“Whereas I have always found, even in this case of very fast drivers, the challenge is still on and stimulating because, of course, you runs to win in their own class. Rather, at the level of guide you need to adapt to drive a car a little less aggressive, and adjusted to have a behavior more predictable and maybe with a little more downforce, to make it more suitable to a rider less experienced”.

ono is conscious of being lucky to do what I do: of course the dream of F1 will not come true, but I am happy to be part of the team and it’s great to be a Ferrari driver at the 24 of Le Mans and in the WEC

This year you have touched the victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona: is it really so different how to say race in America?

“In general, we can say that the races have a medium level of hazard is slightly higher, because there is a tendency for example to delay the neutralization of the race in case of heavy rain, and even the commissioners are a bit more permissive, so much so that the contact between the cars, it happens more frequently. All this makes the races perhaps the most spectacular for the public and for us riders it is sometimes funny, sometimes a bit less if perhaps you are a contact while you’re in the head…”.

The result, first of all, and it cannot be otherwise for an official driver of Ferrari. But now that drive is no longer a dream, but a profession, change the approach?

“Yes and no. Surely there are a awareness and a different responsibility. However, when I get in the car I keep repeating that my goal must be, first of all, to have fun, like the first time, because if you start to consider a job doesn’t go nowhere. When I hear that, for me, driving is just a job, it will mean that the time has come to stop. I am conscious of being lucky to do what I do: of course the dream of F1 will not come true, but I am happy to be part of the team and it’s great to be a Ferrari driver at the 24 of Le Mans and in the WEC. However, I repeat, not going to take all of this as a job but as a fun because it is when you enjoy that you express most of your potential and your talent.