Round Two of the 2020 SRO E-Sport GT Series saw a sensational lights-to-flag victory for Lorenzo Marcucci, driving the #188 LP Racing Audi R8 LMS. The Italian driver finished over 15 seconds ahead of fellow Audi pilot Iván Pareras, having driven a controlled and smooth race during which his driving style was complimented by commentator and former Formula 1 driver John Watson.
Lorenzo Marcucci, alongside Jordan Pepper, is now second in the drivers standings on 25 points and just two points behind series leader Luigi di Lorenzo.
Following the victory, EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd asked Lorenzo Marcucci about his win at Spa, his views on sim racing and his thoughts on the future.
Lorenzo, firstly many congratulations on your Pro Series win at Spa-Francorchamps. How did it feel to beat so many established real-world GT3 drivers?
“Thank you very much. It is an honour for me to race with so many real-word GT3 drivers (and do not forget the F1 drivers too!). Beating all of them is a sensational feeling. I worked very hard with my team to be competitive here in Spa, the car felt great and I was able to push throughout all the race. When I stopped in pitlane at the end I saw all the names in the standing list, and I realized what I have done!”
For those sportscar enthusiasts not familiar with your career, can you tell me about your career to date?
“I have been racing since I was 10 years old. Motorsport is the biggest passion in our family. I started with go karts in 2002 and I raced in national and international karting until 2013. Then I made my debut in a Ginetta G50 car for the GT4 European Championship in 2014. From 2015 to 2017 I raced in a national championship called Mitjet Italian Series (I am the 2017 Italian Champion). In these last years I raced in Nascar Whelen Euro Series (I won the 2017 Motorshow of Bologna) and in several national championships, such as Italian Prototypes and Italian TCR.”
How important has sim racing been in your career so far?
“I think Sim racing has been very important in my career since I was racing in go kart. When I was just 13 years old, I bought my first wheel and pedals set, and I spent most of the time with a friend of mine trying to learn how to drive fast. My first ever simulation game was GTR and GTR2 and then I switched to rFactor.
“I remember that I learned the heel-and-toe technique when I was 15 years old, driving the 1988 F1 car mod. Since I learned and managed this technique so well at that time, when I jumped into the Ginetta for the first test of my life in a racing car I had no problem in doing it, and everyone was astonished by this fact. Therefore, I always believed in sim racing.”
You’ve had experience in real-world prototypes and GT cars. When racing returns, hopefully later this year, will you be focusing on developing your sportscar career?
“Sure, that is my goal. I will probably compete in Nascar Euro Series in the last part of this 2020, and the aim for the next season is to race in the GT3 Championship (hopefully the SRO, that would be my dream) with the LP Racing team. I am working hard mentally and physically to be ready, whenever we are going to start.”
You’re driving the Audi R8 LMS in the SRO E-Sport GT Series. Why did you decide on the Audi and what advice did you take in its set-up?
“I have done many races with the Audi in Assetto Corsa Competizione so far, and I always found it very consistent on every track and situation. Plus, I developed very good setups with my virtual team GTWR. It is not the easiest car. For example, in Spa, we had to take risks on every lap at Eau Rouge and Radillon because of a sudden loss of downforce at the top of it, but it was worth it. I think that the Audi is very fast when it is a little bit oversteering. I had to adapt my driving style, but after a bit of practice I can say that I know its behaviour pretty well.”
After pole position and the race victory at Spa, you are second in standings. With only three rounds remaining, are you confident that the championship is within your grasp.
“For sure it is a challenging championship, the competitors are so strong, and I must be consistent in every race, especially at the Nürburgring where, because of the BoP, I will carry 42 kilograms of extra weight on my car. But as I said, Audi is competitive in every condition, I have good chances, and I will push until the end and try to win the championship.”
How will you be preparing for the Nürburgring on May 17?
“First, I will work on the setup with my team. The most important thing to try is the extra weight because, for sure, the car behaviour will be slightly different from what I am used to. We have also to face the fuel consumption, which will be higher because of the weight. I am confident that we will find the right setup, and that we will extract the maximum from our car. And do not forget, we have also to focus on the rain setup. When I have raced in Germany, I have found rainy days very often!”
Round Three of the 2020 SRO E-Sport GT Series takes place at the Nürburgring on May 17.