Heidfeld: Rallycross debut a tough challenge, but keen for more

Former Formula 1 driver Nick Heidfeld says his recent rallycross debut presented a serious challenge, but would like to have another crack at the discipline.

Nick Heidfeld

The German, who has mostly competed in sportscars and Formula E since his last grand prix start with Lotus in 2011, appeared in the World Rallycross Championship's secondary RX2e class in Catalunya last month.

The 45-year-old placed 10th in the overall results, but his performance showed an improvement throughout the event, by the end of which he was close to some of the fastest drivers over a single lap.

Heidfeld, who hasn’t raced a full campaign since the 2017-18 Formula E season, admits that he found the going tough as he adapted to competing on the mixed surface but would welcome more time at the wheel to build on his first experience.

“It was a huge challenge,” the 13-time F1 podium finisher said.

“There are some things that become like reflexes from 35 years of racing in other series, but which don’t work in rallycross. I knew what I needed to do, but then when the situation came, I didn’t do it!

“I need to change something in my brain to react automatically rather than having to think about it – because the one thing you certainly don’t have in rallycross is time to think!

“That said, I was pleased with the weekend overall. I felt I improved throughout and the other drivers were very helpful – which probably means I’m still not quite quick enough to threaten them!

“I was starting to get into the game towards the end and keep pace with them. My consistency was better on the second day, but it’s so tight that you need those last couple of tenths to really fight.

“I would definitely like to do some more – and it goes without saying that I would love to try out a World RX car should the opportunity arise.”

Former MotoGP rider Carlos Checa joined Heidfeld in making his RX2e debut in Barcelona

Former MotoGP rider Carlos Checa joined Heidfeld in making his RX2e debut in Barcelona

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Given his background in Formula E - he was in contention to win the very first race in 2014 before clashing with Nico Prost on the run to the final corner - Heidfeld sees the single-spec electric rallycross series as a fitting addition to his CV.

“I’m obviously a big fan of electric racing,” said the former Mahindra driver, who announced his departure from the Indian outfit as an ambassador last week.

“The transition to alternative energies is happening globally, and of course it’s important that the leading motorsport championships set an example.

“I think it shows to the world that it the technology is readily there and that it can be exciting, too.”

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