Following the victory of the Italian Endurance Touring Car Championship and thanks to the friendship and support of Manfredi Ravetto, I spent the year 2010 testing and competing with different cars and teams.
I did a test with the Ferrari 430 GT Cup of the Romeo Ferraris Team on the Misano Adriatico circuit, then in Germany I tested the Audi A4 DTM of Team Kolles TME, the Jaguar XF R V8 of the Ferlito Motors Team that participates in the Superstars Championship, and with the Team Grasser Racing I did a Test with a Porsche 996 at Pannonia Ring (Hungary).
With this last car I also ran 2 races in the Czech Republic on the Brno Circuit and in Most, north of Prague; unfortunately I did not finish these races due to technical problems.
During the year I also participated in a race in Franciacorta with a Prototype Wolf CN2 with Honda engine in the European Sport Prototype bringing the car to third place, I raced and won a race at Mugello with a Mini Cooper S of the Official BMW Ravaglia Team in the Italian Touring Car Championship CITS, and with BF Motorsport I raced the 6 Hours of Misano during the night on board of the Seat Leon Supercopa winning the race in our category.
However, the biggest opportunity that I failed to capture was to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on board of the Audi R10 LMP1, a car that had already won the French race.
When the possibility of racing at Le Mans and then trying the R10 TDI was offered to me, it seemed to me to go back 10 years, when I was a Formula 1 test driver.
In fact, the Audi R10 TDI was the Formula 1 of Endurance cars, it is the car that has won the Le Mans 24 hours several times; 5550 cc V12 diesel engine with about 700 hp and a torque of 1100 Nm. Mind-boggling numbers.
The night before the test, I was given a booklet with instructions for learning about the electronics and the functions of the steering wheel buttons. I spent a lot of time reading because there were innumerable functions, above all I had to learn some necessary procedures to avoid possible gear and engine breaks.
Once I got into the car, I remembered the memory of Minardi in Formula 1, I was elated and I was very focused on driving.
The noise was almost dull, from the inside of the car as soon as it was heard, but the acceleration was incredible! The car had a 5-speed gearbox, the diesel engine with that torque enabled this solution and when I accelerated up all the gears on the Paul Ricard straight I felt like I was in a rocket! Before the curve Signes I had reached 330 km/h!
With Formula 1 when you reach high speeds, clearly depending on the aerodynamic downforce setup, it seems as if a parachute opened up behind it, which creates a lot of drag, something I didn’t feel with this car. Obviously being the Formula 1car, lighter and having greater downforce it was faster when cornering and stopped a lot better.
I did an excellent test, they were all happy and satisfied but I was not able to reach the necessary budget to get the place and run the most important and famous Endurance race in the world.
I really hope to be able to one day attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans!