Dario Franchitti Featured in Baltimore Magazine
Our full interview with the race-car driver & Grand Prix of Baltimore contestant.
By Amy Mulvihill
credit: Photo courtesy of Target
How does a kid from a small village in Scotland get into car racing?
I got into car racing because my dad was and is a fan of racing and his hobby was to go racing on the weekends. And I would go to the track with him since I was really small. So that’s where my passion for racing started: doing things with my dad.
Did I read that your brother and cousin race as well?
Yeah, my brother races in sports cars. He’s at 24 hours of Lemans this weekend. Yeah, he’s doing that. My cousin races Formula One, so, yeah, racing is definitely in the family.
It’s the family business.
What does it feel like when you’re racing?
Well, it’s amazing what you can get used to. When you’re cornering, it’s very, very intense, let’s put it that way. But you actually can become a little used to it. When things start to go wrong though, trust me, it feels very, very quick. That’s when you really realize how fast you’re traveling. Cause your mind kind of changes a bit, and you’re actually in a very focused state. And as I say, it’s only when things go wrong you realize how fast you’re actually traveling.
What’s the scariest experience you’ve ever had?
There have been a few. Probably 2007 when I flipped a car a couple times, that was really scary. One was in Michigan, and then one was in Kentucky. Those were not nice experiences.
You finished fourth in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix and 13th last year. How were those experiences? Well, both times I’ve been to the Grand Prix, I’ve been dissatisfied with the result. Last year was a real nightmare for us. And we finished fourth in that first event there. It’s a very, very challenging track. The walls are very, very close. Multiple surfaces, you know, it’s a very bumpy track. You know, as a driver, it’s a big challenge and as a fan it looks like quite an event and it’s really good fun.
It’s no secret that the race has had its ups and downs in terms of organization and attendance, what is the word on the race now among the drivers in the series? Well, the drivers liked it because the crowd was very, very enthusiastic, and it has that real sort of event atmosphere. It’s like a street party with the race attached. And the crowd is good and enthusiastic, like I say, so everybody whether it’s drivers, or crews, or the sponsors really enjoys going to events like that.
Will you have any time to check out Baltimore? It’s just really at work. It’s one of the odd things about the job. Myself and the other drivers, we get to travel to all these amazing places around the world and we only get to see the airport, the hotel, and the track.
You’re currently ranked 10th, right in the middle of the pack. What’s your strategy for the rest of the season? Well, the strategy is try to win some races. We had a pretty rough start: two non-finishes in the first two races. We were actually last after two races because we hadn’t finished a race yet. We’re climbing back up through the points, and we’ll try to win some races, have some more good results, and get up there in the point standings