Oriol Servia will return to the 102nd Indianapolis 500 running with race newcomer, Scuderia Corsa. Servia, originally from Catalonia, Spain, has been a fixture of the IndyCar scene since winning the Indy Lights championship in 1999. 2018 will mark his 10th Indianapolis 500 start, with highlights including a fourth in 2009 and 2011, and coming close to winning on several occasions, including last year. Read what Oriol has to say about joining forces with Scuderia Corsa in the team’s debut in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at the Brickyard!
Q: What does it mean to you to be back at the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” with Indy 500 first-timer Scuderia Corsa?
A: The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world, period. I have been lucky to race it nine other times and get a taste of what it must mean to win it. In 2009, I led the race for a good number of laps just at the midpoint of the race and it gave me this special empowering sensation that probably can only compare to actually crossing the bricks first on the 200th lap. I finished fourth that year, and fought for the win other times but unfortunately last year had a devastating ending by crashing with 10 laps to go, when we were definitely contending for the win with one of the best cars in the field. This will be my 10th Indianapolis 500, and partnering with a winning team like Scuderia Corsa and RLL Racing so I hope we can pick it where we left and this time finish the job on top.
Q: What do you love most about the Indy 500?
A: It’s hard to identify if there is one thing that gives this race such magic. Yes, +400k spectators make an impact, huge TV audience gives an extra hype, 33 hungry competitors make it very exciting, long and fast 500 miles plus the weeks of running in preparation make it a full adventure… but probably the layout stands out. It’s a magical oval with two long straights connected with four, almost-flat 90 degree corners make it the most different and challenging racetrack in the world. Did I mention over three hours at an average of +220 mph ?
Q: What is your favorite Indy 500 tradition?
A: With over 100 hundred years of history the Indy 500 is full of peculiarities and traditions but for me, and although I was not born in the US, having it held during Memorial Day Weekend gives it a very special energy and emotion.
Q: What is your fondest memory at the Brickyard?
A: Getting the front row in Qualifying in 2011. It would turn out this was the last year of Newman/Haas racing, and was very special.
Q: What were your emotions when you started the Centennial Indy 500 on the front row?
A: The emotion definitely ran high just before the command of “Start your Engines.” But right after that second, the actual start was great as it is way easier when you have completely clean air in front of you. The front row means you don’t have to deal with 11 rows of “ambitious” drivers trying to show the world how brave they are on the first lap of the most important race of their careers… so as you can imagine the goal will be to repeat the feat this year.
Q: How have you prepared for the 102nd running of the Indy 500?
A: Honestly a lot of the preparation has come from putting the right partners together, in this case two winning organizations, Scuderia Corsa and RLL Racing. The key points are a solid car development over the winter, securing the proper funding and acquiring the right talent to operate the car during the month of May, and I feel very satisfied with the level of all of it. On my end the preparation comes with the 20 years that I have been doing this, learning race in and race out with the dream to get into that lap 199 and make stick that magical move for the lead that gets us across the famous brickyard first. I feel I have kept myself in as good or even better shape as ever before as I continue to learn on how to work out and diet in ways that work better for my body so overall I feel the best prepared I have ever been.
Q: How is your approach to the Indy 500 different this time around?
A: In general I try to keep an open mind on my approach as I have learned that especially in this race the most unpredictable can happen. You need to focus on finding a solid car setup for the car as it is obvious and it counts the most but in difference to other years I am planning on focusing on qualifying a little more than the last few years as starting from the front will make your day and pitcrew a lot easier.
Photo Credit: Mike Levitt LAT Images