Marcel Fässler 2012 Lemans Audi Team Winner
Today we were introduced to Marcel Fässler an endurance racing driver. Ernesto Hutmacher from Massa Vecchia, introduced us, who himself was once a racing driver. Marcel is one of the current top Swiss endurance racing drivers and part of the winning Audi Lemans team in 2011 and 2012. He was on holiday and staying at Massa Vecchia.
Marcel is currently in the off season and was making the most of the spring weather in Tuscany and getting in some road training on the bike. “I use road training as a way to build my core fitness and endurance, when it comes to the season we are so busy, we don’t have time to train like now, this type of endurance training is fundamental, here there are great routes for riding each time you go out you can do something differnet”
I was particularly interested to hear his thoughts on racing and what he does for a job. “I’m a full time racer, with the world championships, PR work and testing I have a very busy calendar, it is not often I get to chill out. I love racing especially in the Lemans cars, they are the closest you can get to formula 1 power and speed with that type of car.” I asked him what it was like driving at 300 km per hour? “In my car you don’t actually feel the speed, with the really high down force as you go faster it actually gets more stable and generates more grip on the road. Very different to road going cars.”
Thinking about how bikers tend not to like the UCI I asked him how it was to drive under the FIA? “The FIA oversees the whole sport and with their race licence we can only drive in FIA approved races, they are very strict about what we can and can’t do, any mistakes like speeding in the pit lane or passing an at danger flag or not seeing it on track and respecting it, and the federation will fine you, it is a very tough system and drivers have to respect it. The fines can be thousands of euros.” Reflecting on this and thinking about the UCI, it seems that mountain biking is run under the same rules as other sports but the FIA appears to update the rules to reflect the technical advances that take place each year, maybe the UCI can learn from this.
Marcel on the pump track taking it easy between runs.
Often when talking to modern drivers a similar pattern emerges, racers are passionate and dedicated, there is no time for “fun'” they are working. “I prefer to go to the race track by myself that way I can concentrate on the job in hand and focus with no distractions.” When wandering around the paddock at a mountain bike event it is easy to forget how easy it is to get close to the top professionals and see what they are doing between runs, even chat to them if they have a free moment, these things are simply not possible in other sports maybe we should consider ourselves lucky! Thanks to Marcel for taking the time out to talk to us and good luck in the up coming season.