KAZUKI NAKAJIMA JOINS THE TEAM AT PORTIMAO

Toyota Hybrid Racing TestingPart of the #7 TS030 HYBRID crew, Kazuki Nakajima missed the first race in Silverstone where his team-mates finished in fourth position. Joining the team for the test in Portugal, the Japanese driver is looking forward to his first race of the WEC season in Spa.

Why did you miss Silverstone?

“I was racing in Japan, in Suzuka, during the same weekend for Super Formula Series, the new name of the Formula Nippon.

How is Super Formula going?

“In Super Formula Series, it’s not the best but not the worst, I was in fifth position at the end but after the winter testing, free practices, qualifying and race, it was the best I could do. Again this year this championship is very competitive. There are 19 cars entered and nearly 10 guys were within half a second, which is really close. Drivers are mainly Japanese and we have also foreigners, but at Suzuka we missed regular drivers like Andre Lotterer or Loïc Duval – of course we know why!”

Is it difficult to jump from a Super Formula to a LMP1 prototype?

“It’s different but you just need a couple of laps to get back in the right pace for an endurance race or a sprint race. You already have some feelings in your mind. You just have to remember it again but it doesn’t take too long.”

Spa will be your first race of the WEC season, what are your feelings?

“Of course, I watched the race in Silverstone and I could see it was a difficult race for us. But I still have hopes. In Silverstone we did not have the new car and in Spa the real preparation for Le Mans will start in race conditions. On the one hand, it’s very important to have a good result but at the same time we will be focused on the Le Mans preparation. I’m excited to be in Spa with the new car for sure and this test in Portugal is a good opportunity for me to drive before heading to Belgium. On this Portimao track we have specific things we want to try and it’s for me a very important week.”

2013 means for you three different championships on three different cars, how do you manage such a schedule?

“It’s almost the same as last year. I had a quite similar schedule to manage but maybe a little bit more this year especially in the WEC where we enter more races. The most important thing is to properly manage the frequent time differences between Japan and the rest of the world. You should try to avoid any sickness and at the moment I’m quite okay. From Japan to Europe is not too difficult, the challenge is to go back to Japan. For example, I’m testing in Portugal then I will fly for a GT race in Japan this weekend and then I’ll be back in Europe for Spa next week. It’s a challenge but I’m used to it. I had a good training this winter and worked on my fitness, which is good so far. But I’m not the only one in the team who has to manage long trips, Anthony and Alex follow the Formula 1 Grand Prix. I’m not Superman!”