In our ongoing series of learning about the life, thoughts and behind-the-scenes of auto racing, Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver E.J. Viso has consistently made time to answer our questions. Along with asking him questions about the races, we’ve also been able to have a better understanding of the world of auto racing.
A driver since the age of five, Viso began his racing career at age five driving go-karts in his native Venezuela. Piloting the No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet, the 28-year-old Viso enters his sixth IZOD IndyCar season and first with Andretti Autosport.
This weekend he finished 10th at Iowa Speedway, his fifth top-10 finish this season. Next they test at Pocono Raceway tomorrow and will race there on July 7 in the Pocono INDYCAR 400. It will be live on ABC at 12pm ET on July 7.
How difficult is it to drive a race car?
Driving a race car may look pretty simple – in videos or on tv – but it’s actually pretty complicated. There are many factors that come into play while we’re driving. Some are obvious – the pressure that exists due to the risk of driving with many cars going up to speeds over 200 mph, especially when we are running next to the walls in ovals and street courses, it increases the risk.
Other factors would be the wind, the tire conditions, the fuel load in the car… it definitely changes the car’s behavior and the way we have to react and drive the actual car. On top of it is the engineering side; you have to have some knowledge about it so when you give the information to the engineers, you must be as accurate as possible.
With that said, the better information you’re able to give the engineers, the better they are able to give you a better car as they’ll have more knowledge about what you’re experiencing. There are many factors that many people probably don’t see or understand and realize that driving a race car is pretty intense.
Who builds your engine?
Who handles the research and development of your race cars?
The category (IZOD IndyCar Series) and (car manufacturer) Dallara do a good job of giving us competitive and good cars. Then the teams are actually in charge of developing the race car.
They can use different tools to make the car faster; some take to the wind tunnel to work on aerodynamics, some take to a simulator which simulates what happens on the track but it’s in an office, not the track.
Also, there’s the natural research and development done by all the engineers. All of these are put together to help better the car, and when we go practicing or testing is when we test out all the research.
Once your racing days are over, do you have another career set?
I’m going to retire. I would like to retire and play with my dogs.
About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Firestone Indy Lights, the Pro Mazda Championship and in the USF2000 National Championship.
The company boasts four IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit www.AndrettiAutosport.com.