Luca Ghiotto made the full-time jump into racing in the GP3 Series in 2015 after dovetailing his Formula Renault 3.5 Series campaign in with a partial season in GP3 in 2014.
The twenty-year-old Italian spoke to The Checkered Flag in between the opening round of the GP3 Series season in Spain and this weekend’s races in Austria, with the Trident Racing driver revealing his disappointment and bafflement with how his year in Formula Renault with International Draco Racing unfolded.
“I got into motorsport because my father was a driver since 1992 to 2010 competing in Italian F3 and Prototype championships,” revealed Ghiotto. “Since the first time I went to see one of his races I wanted to be a racing driver.
“I think my career [has been] quite good generally. I’ve never won a championship but I’ve finished second twice, just because of too many mistakes. The only thing I would change in my career is 2014, which was really bad.
“Last year in FR 3.5 was bad, I never had the pace to be in front except a few races. I have so many questions in my mind about 2014, which I can’t find an answer.”
Ghiotto made his GP3 Series debut at Spa-Francorchamps last season with Trident, securing pole position on debut, and tested with the team in the post-Abu Dhabi tests. He felt the decision to move into GP3 full-time was the right move for his career.
“The deal with Trident came about after last year Abu Dhabi post-season test days where I finished P1,” said Ghiotto. “What impressed me the most this year was that the team never made a mistake, everything is organized very well and we always work on [going in a] good direction.
“I think it was the best step for me because I had some good races and testing in GP3 so it was the only championship where I was convinced I could do good results.”
Ghiotto felt he had strong pre-season testing performances with the team, constantly finishing amid the fastest runners, and felt the team made good progress with the set-up of the car to help with his style of driving. The Italian is eager to see whether all the hard work pays off for him during the races, and feels he could make a challenge for the championship.
“Pre-season testing went really well,” revealed Ghiotto. “We were never the quickest but always constantly in the top 5-6. Also we never did a step back, from the first day in Estoril to the last in Barcelona the car was just getting better, and at the end it did adapt very well to my way of driving.
“I’m looking forward to see if me and Trident worked good enough to be on top since the beginning of the championship.
”My expectations are that it’s going to be a tough season because the level is really high. But I really hope I can fight to win the championship. I really hope I can fight for the title and, after the first race, I think we have the potential to fight.”
The first round at the Circuit de Catalunya saw Ghiotto claim his second GP3 pole position, adding to that debut pole in Spa, but felt this one was more genuine with it being on a dry track, whereas his Belgian pole was set in mixed conditions.
Ghiotto however was disappointed not to convert the pole position into his first victory after making a poor start, something he repeated in race two, with the Italian insisting he needs to work on his starts to stop losing positions from the get-go.
“I was really happy because this time it was on a dry track so it was more “real” this pole position,” said Ghiotto. “Obviously I was happy to secure my first podium as well but starting from pole I was not so happy to finish second.
“[The first race weekend] was half good and half a bit less good. In qualifying conditions we were quick since free practice but in race conditions we struggled a lot with tyre degradation. I also made two really bad starts.”
“I learned mainly one thing: I need to do more start practice otherwise I’m always losing positions at the start of the races.”
Ghiotto feels that 2015 is the year he needs to prove himself if his ambition of making it to Formula 1 is to remain a possibility.
“This is “THE” Year for me,” concluded Ghiotto. “I think if I want to get to F1 or become a professional driver I need to win this year.”