At 23 years old, John Filippi is readying himself for a fifth season in the Touring Car Elite. For this 2018 season, he returns to Campos Racing, a single year after leaving the team.
Hello John, how are you feeling a few weeks from the season start of the WTCR Oscaro?
I am very confident for this new season. I am rejoining a team I know well because I did my debut in touring cars with them. This year, the championship will be subject to a lot of changes. I think that with those parameters, it is an advantage to work with people you trust. I got my starts in TC1 with Campos Racing (2014 to 2016) and it is a pleasure to come back, now that I have progressed.
Indeed, what do you think of the new rules?
It’s a very good thing. In terms of competition, this year will be very intense. Especially since I will have excellent racers on the grid with me, most of which has a lot of experience. The new rules will redistribute the cards. The drivers will have to adapt to a new car category, which will put every one on a level playing field. I am impatient to get started. I want to show that I can compete with my opponents.
So you will discover a new car?
Yeah, I will be driving a Cupra TCR (Cupra is the new sports-oriented sub-brand created by Spanish carmaker SEAT). It’s a car which i am not unfamiliar with because i drove on a Seat Leon TC2 in my first year of Touring Cars, when i finished second in the TC2 category. But i am aware that this will be completely different, because this season, the championship will be disputed under TCR technical rules. The cars will therefore have less power and a bit heavier than the past few years.
And performance wise, how good is the Cupra?
We need to wait to see the level of the car with the BOP (Balance of Performance) applied, and then we will advise. One thing is certain, I will have to adapt as quickly as possible, and I am counting on my team to help me.
Taking into account all these factors, what objectives are you fixing for yourself?
I will change my strategy. Up until now I was focusing on what I could do over the entire season. This year I will take the races one after the other, and I will do everything to be the best performer on each of the races. I will have to be more agressive to finish as high up as possible. And this starts with a good race during the first weeekend in Marrakech (April 7th and 8th).
And on the long term?
I haven’t really given it much thought yet. To answer, I would say all athletes dream of becoming a champion. I will continue to work hard, persevere and we will see where it brings me.
Un mot sur tes nouveaux coéquipiers ? A word on your new teammates?
At the moment, i know only one: Pepe Oriola. We are together, two very young pilots, even if i think that he has a bit more experience than me (Oriola is the youngest driver to participate in the WTCC, at 16 years old). To put all the chances on our side, we will have to work together, and push ourselves upwards. If one is in front, the other has to do everything possible to get to the same level. We will have to use this energy to progress together, and do the best results possible.
How are you preparing yourself to be ready Day 1?
It’s very simple. As any high-level athlete, there is a physical preparation element, and practice. To start with, i do cardio exercises to keep up the pace in testing races, and then i try to develop as much as i can my reflexes to be at full speed on competition days. However, concerning practice, it is a bit more complicated. Outside testing sessions on track (one or two during the season), i work mostly on simulators.
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