It’s never easy jumping into a series part way through the year, but that’s exactly what Hyundai Motorsport N driver Nicky Catsburg had to do, but it’s fair to say he’s done a pretty impressive job, with three wins across the three rounds he’s contested this season. Here Nicky answers some questions on the season to date and his thoughts going into the season finale.
How steep a learning curve has it been jumping to ETCR part way through the season?
It’s been a very steep learning curve and it’s very different to anything else I’ve done in motorsport. When you’re new to something in motorsport, you go and do a test day or try and get a lot of laps in, in order to get to know the car, but in FIA ETCR this year it has been difficult. It’s been a very cool new challenge trying to learn something in a limited amount of laps, but also a very nice experience. I’m still learning, but I feel like everyone is learning too because nobody gets a lot of lap time. It’s super cool.
What’s the car like to drive on a 500KW qualifying lap?
The Veloster N ETCR is absolutely insane on 500kW. The difference between 300 and 500 is so big, it almost feels like a completely different car. There’s so much more power that all the braking reference points change, the way you approach corners is different. I honestly love the one-lap shootouts in qualifying, it’s super interesting – and tough – and you feel so fast.
What are the considerations when you’re racing in a Quarter/Semi Final?
The considerations are always pretty much the same; obviously you want to win the Quarter Final because you want to either stay in the fast group or move up into it, so that is always important. Otherwise it is very important to focus on your Power Up management, and try and keep the car in one piece for you and your teammate you share it with – and look forward to the Super Final.
What about the DHL Super Finals with more laps and more cars?
The Super Final is always different because it is more laps and more cars. It comes with a different strategy in terms of Power Up management, so you really need to change your approach to when you use it. You have to strategically take care of more cars, because there is always one car that decides to have a completely different strategy, and it is something you need to think about beforehand. I always really love the Finals, it’s where we have the most cars on the track at the same time and in my opinion, it provides the best show of the weekend.
Any experience of the Sachsenring?
I have been to Sachsenring twice, the last time was five years ago and the time before was more than ten years ago! It’s not somewhere I have been too much but it is a fantastic track, it’s very fast with a lot of quick corners and a few slow corners in the first sector. It has a very nice flow to it so I am really looking forward to the event there.
What will be your approach heading into the final race of the season?
My approach for this event will be more aggressive than ever in terms of trying to find the limit in practice. There is not a lot of time – I have never really been in the gravel this year or out-braking myself so I feel I need to explore the limits a little bit quicker and try and stand out from the rest.