Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque spearheads United Autosports offence on the FIA World Endurance Championship by bringing a bucketload of experience into the team. We caught up with Filipe after the first FIA WEC round in Silverstone.
Filipe, a full WEC season is a big challenge ahead. How big are your ambitions?
We’re going all out. The ambition is to win races, full stop. We have a great team and every ingredient necessary to aim for the top spot. So that’s our goal. It won’t be easy because the level of competition in LMP2 is extremely high.
From your driver’s seat, how stiff is the competition in LMP2?
It’s incredibly tough. In Silverstone, the difference between the first eight cars was negligible. Even more at Le Mans where there were at least 10 cars that had a decent chance of winning it. This makes it very tough, because you can have the pace and confidence, be really fast, but still only finish in eight place. So, we really have to push hard.
What’s it like, driving an Oreca 07 LMP2 car? Is it comparable to the DTM car your raced in the past?
It is a little similar, yes. You drive both cars in the same way: mainly on aerodynamics. The biggest difference is that the LMP2 car is a lot lighter and much faster. Because it has less weight to lug around, there is less weight transfer. The setup is very planted and really a dream to drive in.
The FIA WEC season is a proper global championship with races in all corners of the world, are you looking forward to a specific circuit?
Obviously, Le Mans is the big goal and a magical place to race, but besides that, the one I’m really looking forward is the Interlagos circuit in Brazil. I’ve raced there before in a stock car, but never with a prototype, so that should be a lot of fun.
You have tons of experience in sprint racing or single seater racing, when you are racing solo, what does it take to be an Endurance racer?
It’s a bit of a change you have to make for yourself. When you race alone you only share setup and ideas with your engineer, but when racing in a team of drivers, you have to learn how to share your ideas for setting up the car. If you don’t, the team won’t benefit in any way and neither will you. In Endurance you win either lose together. If you win you have mates to celebrate with and if you lose, you can comfort each other and get over the dip together. That’s the beauty of it.
What does Motul mean to you?
It’s a very exciting brand that stands for quality. Motul has always been a part of Endurance racing at the highest level. You don’t stay this long at the top if you don’t deliver a great product. Many winning teams are using Motul-oils since a long time. This racing pedigree is brought into their products available for customers. I am convinced, it’s a great advantage we have them as a partner.