Rookie Luca Filippi is getting a crash course in American street circuit racing.
The 28-year-old native of Savigliano, Italy, will race on his first road course Sunday at the Grand Prix of Baltimore, but he has raced street circuits in international venues, and he is hoping that the experience of driving in Monte Carlo and Singapore will help him in Baltimore.
“Obviously, they are different,” Filippi said Friday afternoon. “Monte Carlo is smoother, but slower. And I’ve been in Singapore, which is probably as bumpy, but faster and maybe wider. So it’s nice to have another different street circuit to keep learning in my career of motorsports, and I’m enjoying it very much because it’s tricky.
"It’s not easy at all. You find different surfaces all around the lap, and it’s very challenging. From the bumping point of view, we all know it’s bumpy, but on the car, it feels better than what it looks. Probably the IndyCar engineers are so used to making setups on those street circuits that while driving the car, it doesn’t feel that bad at all on those bumps.
"And with the braking, there’s good grip all around. For me, it’s just a matter to improve a little of my driving for this new circuit. So it takes a little more time to learn.”
Filippi, a member of Barracuda Racing, placed 16th at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4. It was a respectable showing for his debut.
“I had a chance at Mid-Ohio,” he said. “We didn’t have the result we wanted, but at least we were competitive more or less for the whole weekend. We had a good race, a good racecar, I felt very confident.”
Filippi earned another shot at Baltimore and the Grand Prix of Houston. Although he did not race at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix at Sonoma last Sunday, Filippi did not let that time go to waste.
“They give me another chance for this race and Houston,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. This is what I want to take my time to get used to the car. I believe we’re doing a good job all together.
"I’ve been to Sonoma as well to keep working with the team and building a relationship with all the guys. So we are just at the beginning and I hope it will be a long way for us.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun