A special race weekend for Miguel Oliveira: the Portuguese, normally racing in MotoGP™ for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, will be participating in an international endurance race for the first time: the Barcelona 24 Hours. In the first test and practice sessions, the 26-year-old got the opportunity to get to know the KTM X-BOW GTX.
You have had a chance to test out the car for the Barcelona 24 Hours, what is your initial impression?
My first impression was that the car is very easy to handle. It gives you great feedback and a lot of emotions on the track. Racing on four wheels is quite a new experience for me. That's why I faced so many challenges during the day. Among other things, I had to get used to the driving style, find the right braking points. The whole concept – the braking, the power delivery – is very impressive. And of course, the view from the cockpit: that's really one of the best things! So far, I'm really enjoying it and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
You are racing for True Racing and share the car with experienced teammates. What has the partnership with the team been like so far? And in which way have you been sharing knowledge and information with your teammates?
We had already been in contact for a few weeks to organise this whole event. But I only really got to know the team, my race engineer and my teammates here in Barcelona. We get on very well, they are really great people. My teammates are very open, helpful and give me a lot of advice. Of course, as a racer, it was natural for me to achieve a certain lap time. Now, however, it is difficult to improve further. So, I will need some more tips from them during the weekend!
You know the Barcelona circuit like the back of your hand and recorded the first victory of the season for KTM in MotoGP™ here. Can you translate this expertise into racing the KTM X-BOW GTX?
Not really. First of all, the layout is not the same – MotoGP™ uses the fast right-hander in the last sector. In the 24H Series the tight chicane is being used. Furthermore, the lines are very different – it’s something you can’t compare. But both my RC16 and the X-BOW give me a great feeling and a lot of confidence, so I hope the result this weekend will be similar to what I have achieved a few weeks ago.
What is the difference between driving the X-BOW and your RC16 at the track in Barcelona?
A big difference is the speed. The MotoGP bike is a bit faster, but with the X-BOW you can brake much later and thus turn in earlier. These are the two key points where you really feel a difference.
You have already won multiple races for KTM in MotoGP™. What are you goals for your debut in the X-BOW?
I want to have fun, enjoy the race and learn as much as possible. The championship offers a very professional yet pleasant environment to do just that. I’m super happy to be here – otherwise I would have to settle for a race-free weekend at home. I am honoured to be part of the True Racing team and to have received this invitation from Mr Trunkenpolz.
The Hankook 24H Barcelona will go green at 12:00 on Saturday 4 September. The event will be broadcast live on the race organiser’s website (24hseries.com), where live timing will also be available. https://www.24hseries.com/races/hankook-24h-barcelona-2021