The Former F1, NASCAR and Formula E Driver Is Enjoying His New Adventure
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Nelson Piquet Jr. has driven about everything in motorsports. Formula One, Formula E, stock cars in the U.S. and Brazil, sports car prototypes and more.
Despite that wealth of experience and his championship lineage, the son of the three-time F1 champion admits it’s been a challenge adapting to the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO he’s driving this year in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. But it’s the type of test the 35-year-old relishes.
“It’s all new to me,” Piquet said ahead of this weekend’s third doubleheader round of the 2021 season, set for Watkins Glen International. “I like challenges. It’s the only way you evolve and get better and learn how to deal with tough challenges. Get away from your comfort zone. It’s fun.”
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America: Watkins Glen International Entry List
Driving the No. 13 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán, Piquet’s best finish in the first four races this year was sixth place in the season-opening event at Circuit of The Americas. He’s still building that knowledge base of car and tracks, one of the reasons he told Alain Nadal, team principal at Ansa Motorsports, that it was important for him to drive solo in the Pro class instead of with a co-driver.
“I told Alain that if he wanted me to come do this,” Piquet said, “I would rather do it by myself because I’m getting used to the car still, there’s a lot of tracks I haven’t been to. When you have all these short sessions, you’re shooting yourself in the foot to share the car.”
Piquet’s racing resume is solid. He spent two seasons in F1 (2008-09). He dabbled in all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series from 2010-16, winning one Xfinity Series race and two Camping World Truck Series races. Five seasons in Formula E (2014-18) yielded a season title in 2014. He’s also competed once in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and four times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
All that doesn’t mean much when it comes to a new car, new series and new circuits – though Piquet has driven on the Watkins Glen short course in the past. It’s all about seat time in the Huracán.
“It doesn’t matter how much experience I have, but the track time is always important,” he said. “It’s practice. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 years of motorsport or 30 or five, the more you’re on the track, the better it is. It is a bit of a learning curve.
“My whole life, I’ve enjoyed challenges and doing different series which are a bit out of my comfort zone. I can’t say this is really out of my comfort zone, but the guys that are used to these cars obviously have a bit of an advantage.”
Twenty-five cars are entered for the Watkins Glen round: eight in the Pro class, four in ProAm, seven in Am and six in LB Cup. Current leaders in each class are: Richard Antinucci (No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Las Vegas) in Pro; Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz (No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach) in ProAm; Alan Metni (No. 99 Change Racing, Lamborghini Dallas) in Am; and Mark Kvamme and Terry Olson (No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach) in LB Cup.
The Watkins Glen schedule calls for two practices on Thursday and qualifying for both 50-minute races on Friday morning. The first race starts at 2:10 p.m. ET Friday, with the second race set for 10:40 a.m. Saturday. Both races stream live on IMSA.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, with a weekend recap airing at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 1 on NBCSN.