Nicolas Prost is a proud Motul ambassador and probably the busiest man in the world. While being a family man who just became a father for the second time, he’s also competing in the French GT4 championship racing an Alpine. In addition, he has stepped into a Formula 3 single seater to compete in the Ultimate Cup series as well!
Nico, looking back at the last season, you narrowly missed out on the title. Can you talk me through the season?
Last year was a weird year for everyone. However, the FFSA managed to pull together a great season with as many races as they could put together. To be fair, we lost the championship in the last race but that’s how it goes in motor racing and especially in GT. In the French GT4 championship there are so many teams that have a shot at winning it overall. So, while you usually have three or four front runners in a race, now you have six or seven all fighting for that top spot. That makes it more fun but a lot more challenging. All in all, we had a great season and we’re happy with the result.
This is your third season with Alpine. The brand itself is going through a proper revolution. What does it feel like to be a part of that story?
The brand Alpine is amazing. It has a great heritage and what they are doing now in Formula one and WEC is incredible. When I started with Alpine, I really wanted to win for them and for the team. Winning with an Alpine in France is a magical thing. The brand is so loved. They’re going to expand it a lot more in the future and I’m excited to see what will happen.
Speaking of exciting things. You’re back in a single seater. What’s that all about?
Well, as you know, I’ve grown up around single seaters and have a lot of experience and success racing them and I really wanted to get back to it. There is nothing like racing a single seater. It all started out as a joke with my engineer and CMR team owner Charlie, but it got more serious over time. We decided to do it and we actually received the car on the Tuesday before the race [laughs]. We did some testing on Thursday and Friday and ran into some problems. Then we had to pack up the car and go straight to Paul Ricard. The first race turned out amazing and I was able to compete in races two and three of the weekend. As we won all three races during the first real race weekend, I couldn’t have been happier.
What makes single seaters so special for race drivers? You’re not the first person to say that they’re the ultimate race cars…
First of all, when you start out as a racing driver, all you want to be is a Formula One driver. That’s the magic of it. But when you drive one you will notice that it’s the most driver-focused race car out there. The way they drive is so unique. Then there is the experience of racing them, which is insane. You can brake so late and it’s really the best kind of racing out there. I love racing GTs and LMPs, but single seaters are just special.
You just mentioned LMPs. You obviously have a lot of endurance racing experience. What’s on the horizon for you?
With all the new changes in the world of endurance racing and the introduction of LMH and LMdH, I’m really paying a lot of attention to this championship. I love endurance racing and I’ve been very successful at it in the past so I really would love to get back in an LMP seat and race at Sebring, Le Mans, or Daytona. I’m turning 40 soon and I know I’m at an age where I don’t have a lot of shots left at playing in the major league, but I still have my experience as a calling card so I hope I can work something out for the next few seasons.
Interesting that you mention age. How do you cope with getting older as a driver? And do you feel pressure from young guns in the sport?
Well, I’m at ease with my age. I know there will come a time that I’m just not as quick as a driver who’s 20 years younger than me. I also bumped older drivers out of a seat when I was younger. It’s the circle of life as a racing driver. I know I’m not going to get a Formula E seat again any time soon, but I know I have valuable experience to bring in other series. As long as you still have that hunger for competition, you’re never too old. I still get angry and might make some unsavory hand gestures when somebody cuts me off on the track. When you still have the spirit, you can always be competitive.