Full speed ahead into the new year for Giorgio Maggi: The Swiss youngster will be competing in the 2016 European Le Mans Series as a member of the Race Performance squad. Sharing the cockpit of a new Ligier JS P3 with team-mate Marcello Marateotto in the LMP3 class, the 18-year-old is looking to build on his successes of the past season.
In winter 2015/16, Giorgio Maggi was driving in the Asian Le Mans Series. The talented youngster from Lucerne celebrated a class victory in his debut race on the Formula 1 track in Malaysia and immediately took top spot in the championship table. He successfully defended this lead through to the season finale when he recorded yet another victory in the CN class to claim the title by a 30-point margin ahead of the second-placed driver.
Maggi can now look forward to the European Le Mans Series, the continent’s leading endurance racing competition. Both prototypes and GT cars are entered, competing for class wins and the separate championship trophies. The big incentive is that the winners of the European Le Mans Series titles are invited to line up in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Some of the big names to have made appearances in the past are ex-Formula 1 drivers Johnny Herbert, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jos Verstappen as well as DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller.
Giorgio Maggi will drive an LMP3 car prepared by Race Performance on a total of six race weekends at current and former Formula 1 circuits such as Le Castellet, Silverstone (in the context of the WEC long-distance world championship) and Spa-Francorchamps. He already knows the team very well, having driven for Race Performance in the 2015 ADAC Formula 4 series. After a twelve-month absence, the Swiss team are now returning to the European Le Mans Series, buoyed by their success over the winter in the Asian Le Mans Series. Race Performance claimed the LMP2 class championship, thereby securing a starting place in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Three questions for Giorgio Maggi
Why did you decide to enter the European Le Mans Series?
Over the winter, I had the opportunity to drive in the Asian Le Mans Series. I quickly realised that this type of racing car is absolutely my thing, which is also apparent from my results. My career to date has been dominated by formula racing, and I’ve gained a lot of experience. Now I just can’t wait to take the next step forward by entering the prototype category. LMP cars are among the fastest racing cars in the world, so that represents a major challenge, but one which I’m well prepared for.
You’ve already had considerable shared success with Race Performance in 2015. How excited are you about the new project?
When I made the mid-season switch to Race Performance in 2015, it was like a new start for me. The team gave me such a warm welcome, and we immediately got down to some serious and constructive business. The atmosphere in the team was fantastic from day one, and they made it very easy for me to settle in. So I’m all the more delighted to be contesting the European Le Mans Series with them. They know how to build fast cars, as they so convincingly demonstrated by winning the Asian Le Mans Series.
Now the Asian Le Mans Series team champions and one of the driver’s championship winners are reunited in Europe. What targets have you set yourself for the 2016 campaign?
Obviously, expectations have risen appreciably after my title win in Asia – and that includes my own. All the same, I’m not talking in terms of the title at this stage. The team is returning to the series after a year out, and for me it’s a debut season. I am highly motivated and will obviously be aiming to win races and mix it with the front-runners. But before I set a clear target for 2016, I would like to get through the official tests and complete a couple of races.