Luis Diaz visits Lola
After competing with the Fernandez Racing Lola LMP2 car in 2007, Spanish born Mexican racer, Luis Diaz will get another chance to shine in the 2011 ALMS with Level 5 Motorsports.
32-year-old Diaz visited the Lola factory last week to meet Lola engineers and is highly motivated for the coming season, as he told www.lola-group.com
Lola: “Luis, it’s great to see you here in Huntingdon with a really professional team in the shape of Level 5 Motorsports – you must be delighted?
Diaz: “It’s a great opportunity for me and I have never been this involved with a team from the beginning. The first thing that I had to do after they told me that I was going to be his driver was to come to Lola and meet you guys in person and see how you build the cars. I think that’s very motivating for me to be so close to the team from the beginning and I am very excited about it. I think it’s very important for them to have a very motivated driver.”
Lola: “So the package for Level 5 is Lola chassis and HPD engine. Both are proven race and title winners. How do you think you will fare in the American Le Mans Series P2 class in 2011?”
Diaz: “It’s a relief for a driver because I know that the only thing I have got to be worried about is driving, because I know the Lola chassis will be fast and durable and I know the engine will be also good, so it’s already a great start. I’m very confident with the guys at Level 5 already and we have a very good group of people there in Madison (Wisconsin). I think all the pieces are in the right place and I think we have the right package to do a good job. Scott Tucker is the owner and also drives and is very professional. He tries very hard to operate in a competitive way and I think so far he has done a great job, so I’m pretty confident that we will be in a great position at the end of the season.”
Lola: “And of course you have got some previous experience with a Lola chassis in 2007 with Fernandez Racing - do you think that will be an advantage for you?”
Diaz: “First of all I have always been very grateful with Lola because I had a huge Indy Lights accident in 2000 and thanks to the chassis I didn’t get hurt. So, from that day on I have had a very special appreciation for the company. I think knowing the car will give me a good chance of giving the guys better feedback, so I will feel at home immediately and hopefully we can win the P2 championship. I am also very excited to see how different the car will be from when I drove it in 2007 because what I have seen here in the Lola factory I think it will be a huge improvement from that car to the 2011.”
Lola: “Obviously the entire program hasn’t been confirmed absolutely yet for Level 5. For sure the American Le Mans Series, but the real jewel in the crown of sports car racing is the Le Mans 24 hrs and that’s very much on the radar for Level 5. Again you must be really looking forward to June should the team get an entry there?”
Diaz: “Yes, big time. For me it will be huge. Not only for me personally but also for my country, for Mexico. You know the Rodriguez brothers (Ricardo and Pedro) were very big down there so hopefully I can repeat that with the Level 5 Lola-Honda next year.”
Lola: “Just looking a bit further forward, I get the feeling from you and the team that this isn’t just a 2011 program, its foundations have been laid for a program expanding into the future and it looks like there are big plans for the future?”
Diaz: “Well, you know, I’m pretty new in the team but I have seen the owner Scott Tucker. His mentality is always to win, always to grow; it’s always to better and better and better, so yes I have the same feeling. I think this program can be here for a long time, I think it depends on us and our performance to keep doing this for many years, so hopefully we can do a good job right away and win many championships from now on.”
Lola: “Finally, what has impressed you the most at Lola this week?”
Diaz: “Everything, you know, everything. The Wind tunnel was amazing and so was the composites facility and design office. Looking at all the hard work that the Lola team put into building these fantastic cars is the most impressive thing.”