Wurz back in the Toyota TS050: Up to speed in three laps
The motorsport fire burns, the fitness fits: Alexander Wurz firmly expects to be fast again immediately at the WEC prologue in Le Castellet in the Toyota
Without superstar Fernando Alonso, but with 35 of 36 vehicles, the WEC will start its 2018/19 super season with the prologue in Le Castellet on the first weekend of April. The Spaniard is not the only Toyota regular driver to be replaced during the two-day test drives. Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima are active in the Japanese Super GT series and must also fit.
In addition to the official replacement driver Anthony Davidson, who lost his regular place to Fernando Alonso, Toyota consultant Alexander Wurz will also be behind the wheel of the Toyota TS050 during the prologue: “Two years ago I drove for the last time, now in the third lap I was as fast as my team mates,” said the Austrian, who had recently been back in the car on test drives in Aragon.
Wurz admits that he had “struggled a little more than in the old days” with the physical exertion of driving the LMP1 car. However: “The stopwatch does not know your age. The only reason I don’t have the fitness is because I haven’t driven in two years. If I do three tests and prepare specifically, it’s all right. If you’re in business like a Raikkonen or Alonso, you have no problem at all.”
Routine helps more in the normal office than in sports
A possible hurdle apart from physical fitness is the mental approach. In racing you are always focused, always have all details in view. Because you’re starting to get a little lazy,” says Wurz, “and the fire is going out. That’s actually why athletes have a certain burnout rate over time.”
“If you don’t enjoy it any more and are annoyed with little things – that your luggage is late, that your hotel room is loud, that the duvet is not comfortable – then you are already close to the end”, explains the Austrian, who is on the road as a consultant to Williams in Formula 1 and will continue to accompany the races as an ORF expert in 2018. He must be on fire for the sport.
“If you start getting tired, the performance business quickly lacks one or two tenths”, explains the 44-year-old ex-Formula 1 pilot, who was able to triumph twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: “If you are in the office, for example as an investment banker, architect or designer, you can make up for that with routine at some point. But not when you’re competing against the world’s best athletes.”