Welcome back to Part II of getting to know Louis Delétraz on and beyond the track. Swiss endurance driver Louis Delétraz, 25, salutes us from Geneva, and we’ve got all your questions answered.
Hanging on his door swings an “out of office” sign, respectfully, after a whirlwind of a year and a solid start coming in 2023. Born with racing blood (father: Jean-Denis Délatraz), Louis shared with us his fascination with racing at a young age and how he has made it into a career.
Louis takes his second straight ELMS title; P4 in Behrain FIA WEC finale; Joined Wayne Taylor Racing & Acura for IMSA Michelin Endurance Championship; Multi-champion at the 2022 Petit Le Mans finishing overall fifth place at Road Atlanta for Tower Motorsport; no stranger to the world-famous Rolex 24 at Daytona… just a few achievements in the last few months alone.
Delétraz has gathered fans from all over the world. His F1 debut for Haas was short-lived but a further personal understanding of his strengths and how best to apply them. Read Part I of this interview for his thoughts on this matter.
What is fascinating about motorsport? Maybe it’s the dangerous appeal of insane speeds, or the allure of a racecars body, the smell of Raceday or is possibly the sound of pure power. The first time I spoke with Louis our connection went down in my history books. Found myself scrambling to catch up with technology over a faulty internet signal. We laughed though an unsuccessful Google search and reconnected the next day. I felt like I had already made a friend with Louis, who is humble with his racing career successes while we jive over 11 questions from my notepad.
“I couldn’t help but laugh when I noticed one website listing you as alive,” I said as we both laughed, “but in all seriousness, racing is a dangerous sport, have you come close to a near-death experience?”
“For sure it’s good to see that I’m alive,” said Louis. He told me about his big crash in Formula 2 in 2019, where his breaks failed and he hit the wall. “It all happened so quick. And that’s the first time I really thought, ‘Okay, it’s going to hurt.’” Luckily, after a quick recovery he was back in the car and quickly too, it was the first time he was really close to win a Formula 2 race and he wasn’t going to play his chances of not being there to take the podium finish again come Monza the next weekend. “If you get scared, you stop, you lose performance. I’m sure that if you get scared, you stop pushing, you stop going fast. And then you cannot race anymore. At least, not at that high level,” said Louis.
In Part I we ended off talking about the “24-hour sprint”, Le Mans. Back in 2021 the bitter feeling of not crossing the checkered flag by a short two minutes is still a raw discussion for Louis. Though 2022 was a successful podium finish, he still felt the stress of the cameras, “will he make a wrong move?”…
Read Part II of our interview below.
An Interview: Louis Delétraz Part II
Fueler: … heartbreaking 2021 but a quality finish this year. What excites you most about the 2023 season?
Louis Delétraz: The most exciting I think is my new deal with Acura. The new hyper category is going to be huge, and it’s looking huge already. I had a few discussions with different teams and different manufacturers, and I decided to go there. And because I think they really wanted me, the line-up’s fantastic, and the cars seems very strong so far. So I’m very excited to see what we can do in Daytona in January. And I think 2023 is not the case, but they all want to go to the Le Mans at some point. And I hope we can challenge in the future years for overall victories with this car.
Fueler: Mentionting that you caught your first NASCAR race this year, what are your thoughts about NASCAR introducing hybrids to the mix and electrification?
Louis Delétraz: Well, I’m going to be honest, I don’t know much about NASCAR. As a kid, I remember at night putting some NASCAR race on, and Jimmy Johnson winning everything. On the regulations technically I never had much of an idea. And this year, I said, “Okay, I’m racing the US for the first time.” In US, in Sebring, and two days later was the 500. I bought ticket, and I went. So it was really cool event.
And I think hybrid is not a problem at all. I mean, not an issue. I think it’s a good technology and probably a technology that we need to use a lot more on the road. Fully electric NASCAR, I don’t know if the show, and the sound… probably will be missed, but then maybe there’s positive, maybe not. I don’t know if it’s achievable possibly to race so long electric flat out in circle. I will leave that to the engineers. But I think it’s a big part of the show, and what people love, the sound. Hopefully we can find a good mix between ecology and green racing and this.
Fueler: This is certainly a common reply, what would NASCAR be without sound? New fully electric racing championships like Extreme E and Formula E are a different feeling, still exciting.
Louis Delétraz: But when I went to the NASCAR race in Indiana, I was surprised … It takes you. Every time the cars go by, you feel it go passing by. I think, I don’t know, but I don’t think you can get the same from electric NASCAR. I don’t know. I just also remember Formula One, when I went for the first time with V12s and screaming engines is still not the same as it is now, even though the cars are fantastic and quick and much more efficient. Which is great because in the end that’s what you want to evolve in the technology
Fueler: Speaking of “different,” you’ve experienced different teams, different races, but one team you’ve stayed 49 races with, Josef Kaufmann Racing.
Louis Delétraz: Yes. So, they were the first team I actually raced properly with because before I was Formula and then W, I was fifteen was more like a school. And it’s a family team. They were the top team in Formula Renault. My first year was obviously not the strongest, was good, but not the strongest. And when I came in with them, was super strong. I was so young when I started, and I felt like it was a family for me. I still speak to them, to Josef Kaufmann and Lars Kaufman, which are the owners and father and the son. They taught me so much.
I mean, they have a way of telling you, “Okay, we know the car is good,” because they’ve been doing it forever. And, “You have to accept it and learn how to drive.” They teach you so well. And it’s really not, you probably have the oldest truck of the paddock and definitely not most luxurious (which you don’t care about), but you have a fast car. And they made me win championships, propositions, and they help me lot. So why should I change when everything was going well?
Fueler: The Iron Lynx is part of your team right now! So, can you please explain the relationship between them?
Louis Delétraz: Yeah, so I always actually was in contact with Iron Lynx because Iron Lynx now owns Prema, not completely, but it’s shareholder in Prema.
And they financed the project as well, which without them, without Iron Lynx, the whole Prema and Lamborghini program, I think it is would never happen because, and we have to be very thankful to them because they gave us an opportunity.
What they’ve been putting together as a young team, first of all in general Motorsport is amazing, but also what they do for women driving, because they have the Iron Dames lineup in GT, which was very fun this year. And I think they have big projects for the future. So all Iron Lynx is handled by the Piccinni brothers and Deborah Mayer is pretty amazing.
Fueler: Your recognition and positivity of support for women in motorsport, should be inspiring to drivers who need to saturate themselves with equality on the playing field. Thanks so much for your time Louis I really enjoyed laughing with you, see you on track!
Louis Delétraz: I appreciate you too. You’re very nice.
What’s in Your…..
What is always in your nightstand?
What’s always in your travel duffle bag?
The usual, my wallet and my passport.
What’s always in your lunchbox?
What’s always in your gym bag?
My extra shoes.
What’s always on your most-played list?
Ooh, you’re unlucky with me because I’m really bad with music. I basically put up the latest playlist that pops up. I let iTunes and Spotify do it for me.