Thursday 13. October 2016

Interview with Alexander Talkanitsa Jr.

Alexander Talkanitsa Jr, driver of the AT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia alongside his father Alexander Talkanitsa, is standing now third of the LMGTE classification. With the last race of the season coming in less than 2 weeks a big challenge is waiting for the AT Racing team as the race in Estoril will decide who will become LMGTE 2016 ELMS vice-champion and claim the guaranteed entry for the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans next June.

What will be your biggest challenge at the 4 Hours of Estoril?

The biggest challenge will be the traffic. I remember that last year the LMP3 cars were only slightly faster than our Ferrari 458 GTE. This makes it very difficult to find the right balance between keeping up your pace and not risking a contact with an LMP3 because they have to take more risk to overtake you. Apart from that the weather is unpredictable during that season which makes the tire and strategy choice a gamble.

Do you have more pressure thinking that this last race will decide whether you are vice-champion or not? How will you deal with this pressure?

Our approach is to think only about the next race and not about the championship. I think we had a very good season so far and we aim to finish the season on a high note. Our goal is to give 100% and to win the race. If we achieve this, we would have done our job and could be happy with our performance.

What do you think of this 2016 season and the LMGTE grid?

The level of teams and drivers is in general very high. You can see that young professional drivers from the formula championships like GP2, GP3 or F3 are considering the ELMS as an attractive step for their careers.

The LMGTE grid is very balanced with literally every car having chances to finish on the podium. Every manufacturer was able to win a race, which is obliviously great for the championship. It is a lot of fun to race wheel to wheel against a bunch of 24 Hours of Le Mans winners such as Andrea Bertolini, Darren Turner or Wolf Henzler.

How do you find it racing with your father? Does he give you advice or do you advise him?

It is obviously a great privilege to be able to share the car with my father. We are pushing each other to improve at every race. He is very ambitious and never stops working on himself and does not consider himself as a gentleman driver. We are also very lucky to share the car with Alessandro (Pier Guidi), who is most likely one of the fastest guys out there. Thanks to his advice in the past two years we are in the position to fight for the vice-championship in Estoril.