SIX QUESTIONS WITH DARIO
6 questions with Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti in Detroit
Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti declared his love for Detroit tonight while visiting the Motor City to pick up a trophy for winning the legendary race last year.
Franchitti accepted the BorgWarner Championship Driver Trophy award, or “Baby Borg,” at the Automotive World Congress during a dinner event at the Renaissance Center Marriott.
"I love the people that live here. It's a wonderful town," said Franchitti, who finished second last June in the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix.
The Scottish racecar driver, a three-time Indy 500 champion and four-time IndyCar Series winner, appeared on stage with 1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones, whom Franchitti described as a racing hero.
"I’ve got one of those stickers on the back of my car that says, 'I got my stones from Parnelli Jones,'" Franchitti said.
After his speech, Franchitti shared his thoughts with the Detroit Free Press about the 2013 North American International Auto Show, the all-new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and his love of Detroit:
Detroit Free Press: Have you been to the auto show this week and what did you think?
Dario Franchitti: I haven’t.
Free Press: Have you seen any coverage?
Franchitti: I have seen a lot of coverage of it. It looks good. It looks good to see the enthusiasm, and people having confidence again in the auto industry.
Free Press: What do you think about the Corvette Stingray? That was the most high-profile reveal this week.
Franchitti: Yeah, I’ve been lucky. I’ve got a couple of Corvettes from winning Indy in ’07 and this year the pace car was Corvette, so I’ve got a couple of them.
Um, it’s OK. Put it that way. There’s bits of it I like. The Viper, I really like the look of that. But those are taste things. I think as long as manufacturers are building big, fast good cars like that, good on ‘em.
Free Press: We’re getting the Grand Prix in Detroit again this year. It will be the second straight year and what is it going to take to win?
Franchitti: It’s going to take something special to win it. Last year we were lucky to finish second, especially qualifying like 18th or something. I had a hard day at the office getting up to second. My teammate Scott won.
With Roger Penske in charge, you know it’s going to be done first rate. And I believe the track’s already been resurfaced. They’ve got Charles Burns in charge of the race. Charles is a guy I’ve known from IndyCar for years. It’s going to be great for Detroit. I know for a fact Roger loves Detroit and does everything he can to promote it.
Free Press: Are you interested in electric vehicles – will you ever buy an electric vehicle?
Franchitti: Never say never. Possibly a hybrid at some point, but right now no.
Free Press: You said you love Detroit. What is it about coming to Detroit that inspires you?
Franchitti: It’s a car city. I love cars, I love people that are interested in cars and Detroit has that. (It) went through a really tough time in 2008. I came up here in 2010 to get another one of these Baby Borg trophies.
To see that resurgence mounting and to see it continue makes me glad. As a fan of all types of cars, it’s cool to see.