Ernesto Viso is a very talented driver from Venezuela. Most of the fans in motorsport will remember his terrible crash at Magny Cours in GP2. Viso is keen on making the switch back to the United States of America to race in the Champcar World Series. RacingInside.com spoke to Ernesto Viso in an exclusive interview.
Hello Ernesto, the most of our visitors will be familiar with the name Ernesto Viso. But there are always some of them that do not know exactly who Ernesto Viso is. Could you give a short introduction about yourself?
Hi, everyone. I am Ernesto Jose Viso (better known as “EJ”), I am from Venezuela and I have been racing since I was 6 years old. I love anything that has an engine (bikes, wave runners, planes etc.) and also love extreme sports (I regularly practice kite-surfing, snowboarding, wake boarding, mountain biking and other things). I have been living in Europe for many years, mainly in England and Spain. Currently I live in Barcelona, Spain.
You have started your career in karting, like many other drivers did. Is karting an important step in the career of a race driver? Did you always want to be a race driver?
Karting is the first step for any driver. This is where you learn everything about racing and handling a car. Keeping your line and learn how not to break too much or not enough are just some of the things you learn in karting. Besides all of this, it is obviously a lot of fun! I wanted to be a driver from early age on, when my dad put me in a kart.
After your period in the go-karts, you raced the US Barber Formula Dodge East Series and became a champion. As a Venezuelan racing in the USA is a logical step. But you have gone to Europe to do Formula Renault and, later on, Formula 3. Why did you moved to Europe right away?
Europe is where you need to be if you want to learn about open wheelers. Competition is though and there are many drivers from many different places. My objective is Formula 1 and I knew that I had to come to Europe to achieve this. Also, I have Italian blood so it was kind of returning to the source.
You have been quite impressive in British Formula 3 and winning the B-class in 2003. After some races in the A-class of British Formula 3 in 2004, you have turned over to Formula 3000. If you look back to that, was it a wise decision or would it have been a better decision to stay in Formula 3 for the rest of the season?
I am not the kind of person that looks back and says if this or that. At that time it was the best option and I took it. I don’t regret it. I wanted to be in GP2 Series in its first year and this was the best way to achieve it. If I had to do it again, I will make the same decision.
The last three years you have been involved in GP2 Series and you won some races with iSport International in 2006. Do you think you would have achieved even better results if you had stayed with such a good team?
iSport International is among the few top teams in GP2 Series. They won the championship which shows that if you race with them you can win races, which is what I did in 2006. I decided to focus on other things in 2007 and again don’t look back on my decisions.
There is one moment in your career that everyone in racing will remember and that is your horrifying crash at Magny Cours, last season. Did you fully recover from that accident, also mentally? Do you ever think: “What the hell am I doing, this is crazy!”?
It was a big bang and yeah it was amazing. I was not affected by the accident other than a sour neck the next morning. I left the hospital on Sunday morning hoping I could race but have been told that it was better to have some rest and take it easy. It did not stop me to go back to the track, to take part to the celebration of the podium from my team mate.
Racing is my life and I love what I do. Accidents are part of the game and Magny-Cours was just a racing accident.
You have been one of the test drivers of the Spyker F1 team during the last season. Do you enjoy Formula 1? Is Formula 1 your ultimate goal in racing?
Of course, I love Formula 1 and enjoyed every second of my tests with Spyker F1. It is my ultimate goal and this is why I decided to focus on it during last year, to work on raising money to build a strong challenge for 2008.
Looking to the 2008 season, you are linked to the Champcar World Series several times now and you have also tested the car of Minardi Team USA several times. Do you think Champcar World Series is a serious option to race during the 2008 season? What are your plans/expectations about the 2008 season?
Champ Car is a very competitive series with exactly same spec cars and engine and with most of the tracks in town it makes it really a though series. There are a lot of good drivers and with the likes of Bernoldi, Perera and Montagny joining the current grid it is and will be a strong series. Of course, there is a lot of rumour at the moment that it will merge with IRL and I think it is the best that can happen to open wheel racing in the USA. Let’s hope it will happen smoothly, although it isn’t looking that way at the moment.
If you could swap life for a moment with another race driver, who will be the driver you are swapping with and why?
I am not sure. I love my life and I think everyone’s life is full of great things and maybe less great things. I am happy with the life of EJ!
If you take a look at your future, what will the future bring to you? Do you have special targets that have to be accomplished?
I hope I can race for as long as I can and reach as high as I can. Have fun, be happy and have the people I love around me, which are the things that it is all about.
The world of racing looks all good from the outside, but what is the hardest part of racing if you are involved with it from the inside?
For me the hardest thing is when I am not racing and I need to wait to be back in the car.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
You have to be driven and never give up. Always push and never accept anything of defeating and work very, very hard!