He is a very talented and fast guy, but currently left without a seat in a competitive racing team or championship. Being a contender in different championships, like Euroseries Formula 3 and Indy Lights, did not gave him the well deserved full time career in IndyCar Series. But, the American/Italian guy won't give up and RacingInside.com is sure he will return as strong as ever. Richard Antinucci is his name and RacingInside.com spoke to him in an exclusive interview.
Hello Richard, you are a talented American/Italian driver and most of our visitors will certainly know who you are. But could you please give a short introduction about yourself to the visitors that do not know you?
Hello everyone, my name is Richard Antinucci; I grew up as a racing driver in between the USA and Italy. I started with go-karts at the age of 9 and progressed through all the single seater ranks in Europe, before eventually graduating to IndyCar in 2009. Most recently, I've joined Lamborghini as a driver coach/test driver.
How did you get involved in racing? Have you always wanted to become a race driver yourself? Did your parents and family always support you?
My father has been the most influential person in my racing career and personal life. He got me my first go-kart, my first team and also my first sponsor. It definitely wasn't a case where the kid was forced to race. I was so eager to jump in that go-kart seat from the first day on at the local 'figure 8' parking lot!
You have started your career, like many other drivers, in karting. Did you enjoy your period in karting and do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a race driver?
I believe it is a key step for most career paths in automobile racing. There might be some cases where some drivers went all the way and didn't do extensive amounts of karting, but generally it is pretty key. It prepares the driver for very close racing, working with small details and 1/100ths of a second all the time. You also get an initial introduction into the world of car dynamics and development. Beyond all this, though lies the fact that karting is simply the most fun form of racing I've ever experienced.
You have raced in several cars during your career, for example Formula Renault, Formula 3, Indy Lights and IndyCar. What are the main differences between all those cars? Which car, do you think, is the most exciting to drive?
Based on the same order you mentioned them, the cars gradually increase in aerodynamic downforce, which essentially generates all the grip we feel in these cars - the power grows all the same and finally the speed rises through each category. The IndyCar is by far the fastest of these and the most prestigious, so it has to be a favorite, but the Formula 3 is a phenomenal car as well.
Every race driver has good and bad moments during his career. Competing in IndyCar is probably one of the best moments throughout your career. But, what are really the best and worst moments in your career?
Reaching IndyCar has to be a highlight, given the prestige and difficulty of the series. I am a very competitive person and always remember the wins, so a couple victories really stick out in my mind: winning at Spa-Francorchamps twice in the Formula Renault Eurocup in my first season in cars and winning the Formula 3 World Cup in 2003 against Hamilton, Rosberg, Kubica, Doornbos and Courtney. I also have great memories of winning the road courses in Indy Lights in 2007 and 2008; particularly Infineon and Mid-Ohio in 2007 with Team Cheever.
During your career you have made the step from the USA to Europe and on to Asia. Later on, you have gone back to the USA to drive Indy Lights and IndyCar. But, during the last few years it has been a bit quiet around you. What are you currently doing and what are your expectations based on your further career?
I'm currently working for Lamborghini as a driver coach/test driver. They have hired me based on my dual nationality and racing background. Over the last couple years I've been to Asia, US and Europe to help represent the brand at track events and other events. I'd clearly like to be racing day in and day out, but unfortunately I haven't managed to raise sufficient funds to continue at the IndyCar level. Given the world's current economic status, I decided to make a run for the money and get a stable job! I'm definitely not out of the racing world though - I keep fit and drive sideways all day.
If you could change your life with another race driver for just one day, who will be the one you are changing with?
I'd like to be Valentino Rossi. Yes he's on 2 wheels instead of 4, but the guy struck such a rare patch of form throughout his career to win so much and yet remain so entertaining - he has won more than Armstrong or Schumacher, but the key difference is he did it while being an entertainer all the way through.
Although the race driver is the one that really scores the results, there are always a lot of people on the background that also have a big influence on the results and career of a race driver (sponsors, mechanics etc.). Is there a special person in your career that you would like to thank, and why is that person special to you?
As I mentioned previously, it is my father who I put first - he was the one that put me in the driver’s seat, he was the one whom which I celebrated strongest. He was also my best friend. But there are 2 engineers I've had who completely changed my performances - Peter and Alberto - these two gentlemen engineered my Formula 3 Euroseries car in 2006 and Indy Lights car in 2007. I will love them forever!
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
It is as tough as any other business you are considering. Racing looks fun, because it involves speed and risk. Given this, it is a sport that requires long spells of concentration, quick reflexes, finesse and measured aggression. To add to these elements one has to desire speed, not just accept it. You can be a good driver both technically and speed wise, but the competitive nature is what makes you jump on the rostrum. The will to win!