At the Nürburgring Raffaele Marciello conquered the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup drivers’ title, together with Mercedes-AMG teammate Michael Meadows. The 23-year-old Italian is still in the running for the Endurance Cup and overall Blancpain GT Series title as well, and could also put the icing on the cake by claiming the Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers’ title, together with Mercedes-AMG teammate Tristan Vautier. We caught up with Marciello and looked ahead to the Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale, the Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours on October 28th.
Raffaele, you and Tristan have been on the Intercontinental GT Challenge podium at every round this year. How important has that consistency been in you leading the championship now?
“I think consistency is important in every championship, but especially in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. With the long races over 8, 10, 12 or 24 hours, you have to be there all the time. And since there are only four rounds in the 2018 edition of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, it’s even more important. You cannot afford to have a bad race.”
The season finale at the Laguna Seca Raceway will be the title decider, but you have never raced there before. How do you prepare for such an event?
“I do some simulator work, but nothing special. I am quite lucky to be able to adapt quickly to new circuits. Most of the times I need one run to get to grips with it. I am looking forward to racing at Laguna, for it is one of those legendary tracks in motorsports, with iconic corners. And California is nice place to spend some time, so that should be great as well.”
Who do you think will be your biggest rival in the title fight?
“Markus Winkelhock probably, the reigning champion. But I think we should keep an eye on all the Audi drivers, they will be probably be fighting at the front as well.”
How high do you rate the Intercontinental GT Challenge, compared to other GT championships?
“It’s like the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, but with races all over the world. I love to travel, and the Intercontinental GT Challenge brings me to Australia, Japan, California and even South Africa next year. It is a bit like Formula 1, almost a World Championship. I think is a really nice concept, I hope it will grow even more and that we can get a bit more races. The manufacturers believe in this championship, we always get the best cars and factory drivers, so the level of racing is very high.”