Nicolas Minassian Q&A

So far, 2003 has not gone according to plan for Nicolas Minassian. After spending a year in the all-oval ASCAR series (where he won the title), the charismatic Frenchman made a return to single-seaters with the new Brand Motorsports team in Formula 3000. Things went badly wrong, and Minassian split with the team after the very first race of the season. But things are beginning to improve, and he's been snapped up for Le Mans by the all-French Pescarolo Sport team. James Attwood spoke to him

Nicolas Minassian Q&A



"I've known Henri [Pescarolo, team boss] for many years now. He's got strong connections with Elf, and I was an Elf driver for many years. He's always been sort of a godfather to me. As soon as there was a chance with Henri he let me know and we did a deal together. Le Mans is such an important race for me, because it's in France. It's a great event and it's a brilliant race."



"There is always some pressure, because it's such a big race. It's a French team and the race is in France, so there is pressure there. It's a big occasion and you don't want to stick the car in the wall! But otherwise, there's a good ambience in the team. There's no wrong pressure, only good pressure.

"One thing I'd like to say about motor racing is that sometimes being French is not always good. There are many good French drivers, but you don't see any in Formula 1. There's Olivier Panis, but he's been there for a long time and you can't really count him as an up and coming driver.

"The big French companies involved in F1 don't really give a s**t about French drivers. They just take what they feel like and they don't give any opportunities to young drivers. But Pescarolo Sport is different. Henri always gives chances to French drivers, which is great. He'd break his arm to make sure that he takes on French drivers, and that's great.

"I'm not being funny or anything. If you look at Bentley, they're getting British drivers in. In England, there is much more support for drivers than in France. When Button had his chance to get into F1, he was featured everywhere, all the newspapers gave him lots of coverage, and that helped him get the drive. England is a bit special."



"I've been over to Australia, to test a V8 Supercar, which I really enjoyed. It's a great car to drive and I'd love to race one. The racing looks really competitive as well. I like racing, I really like motorsport, and I enjoy a good battle, and that's what V8 Supercar racing is all about. Nothing's been signed yet, but I'm looking good to race at Sandown and Bathurst with Team Dynamik."



"Don't forget FIA Sportscars!"



"All I want to do is race. I don't really mind what car, so long as it's with a good team and I've got a chance to win. I think racing different types of car can only make you a better driver. It takes a lot of skill to be able to jump into any car and be quick in it. I've driven in sportscars and I've won races, I did ASCAR and won races and the title, I went over to Australia for the V8 Supercar test and went really well. I did Le Mans and Henri asked me back because he thought I'd do a good job. People call me. It's good to be versatile."



"You have to find out what there is and what's happening. I'm interested in the new Le Mans endurance series. It could be like the Group C races from the past - and they would be really fast cars. But I love the V8 Supercars - I watch the racing a lot and it's brilliant. There are so many things! I'd like to do the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. If they called me tomorrow, I'd be off to go and do that. If you give me a drive, I'll do it, because I love racing. I don't want to be bored. I'm just passionate about racing. You cannot take that out of me. I've got passion for motor racing right in my heart."

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