Russian race driver Roman Rusinov and his G-Drive Racing team have been a force to be reckoned with in WEC, ELMS, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This winter the team headed east to join the Asian Le Mans series. We caught up with Rusinov, who for once wasn’t manning one of the team’s Oreca-Gibson chassis but took up a role as team manager.
Congratulations on another victory for the G-Drive team. What were your goals going into the championship?
Thank you, it was a steep challenge and a bit weird to not be in the car this time but instead have more of a managerial role. For us, the Asian Le Mans Series was a preparation for the ELMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We had three goals. First off, we wanted to test the team dynamics and the way the team works. See where we can improve and fix it. On top of that, we wanted to find out who would be the silver driver who would be joining us in the upcoming ELMS season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We wanted to secure the Le Mans entry ticket, which we did. Winning the championship overall was just an incredible bonus. However, to be honest we were just happy to be racing in general given the current situation.
We all know you as a driver. How hard was it to sit this one out and stand on the sidelines?
It was very hard. I really wanted to drive. I know this was not my role. I stepped aside to put our two silver drivers in two different cars so they could compete against each other and we could figure out who would be the best teammate.
You’ve been very comfortable in the Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car, racking up some serious victories. What’s your edge with this car?
Honestly, it’s never really comfortable. You’re always pushing. Besides, my success in the car comes from having a very successful team of mechanics, engineers, and drivers backing me up in the team. You know, on paper, racing is easy. You just have to be faster than the rest and don’t make any mistakes. However, to execute all of this is a lot harder.
There’s a lot of changes going on in endurance with the arrival of the hypercar and the LMDH in the future. Are you looking for different categories to move beyond LMP2?
It all depends on how I will be able to organise the team and myself in this new category. Everything depends on the sponsorship budget and putting together the right team. I would love to drive a hypercar or LMDH and fight for an overall victory, but if I’m not 100% sure I can perform as well as I do now in a different category, so I prefer to remain in LMP2.
Your Oreca-Gibson LMP2 has been running Motul for a number of years, what does it mean to you to team up with a brand like Motul?
For me, Motul is the perfect partner for the team because it’s a one-stop-shop when it comes to every fluid for the car, apart from the fuel of course. Our car does not only use 300V in the engine but we’re also using the brake fluid, coolant, and maintenance products. All of them are of the highest quality available. This means that it’s one less thing to worry about.