MEET THE TEAMS: VOLKSWAGEN RX SWEDEN
In the latest interview with a member of the FIA World Rallycross Championship paddock, we catch up with France’s Laurent Fedacou, chief engineer at the Volkswagen RX Sweden team, who also works in the DTM.
Q: How did you start your career in motorsport?
LF: “I started with Formula 3000 in the middle of the 1990s in Italy, then I went to the Minardi Formula 1 team for many years. After F1 I’ve done DTM for a long time, first with Opel and since 2006 with Audi. I’m still doing DTM with Audi Sport. For years I’ve done Trophee Andros in France and we have been quite successful over there, winning five titles with Jean-Philippe Dayraut. With this experience I went to rallycross in France and now I’m in Volkswagen RX Sweden.”
Q: In Volkswagen RX Sweden, what are your responsibilities?
LF: “I’m responsible for both cars as chief engineer, doing setups and planning the development and building up of the cars, before the season and on track too.”
Q: How does your role differ at events and away from the circuit?
LF: “Before the season we go testing, I do test plans to go through developing new parts to put everything together. We create the base settings for the car and work on the development. Then before the race it is just to adapt what we learn over the winter, specific to each race. You don’t just have one car setup, now you have a tarmac car and a jump car for example, so you need different types of cars and setup over the year, specific for each track.”
Q: What are the biggest challenges of working in World RX?
LF: “You have to always pay attention to the changing elements, so it’s always challenging to be spot on with everything, all the parameters of the car and of the track. It’s very demanding, but they’re fantastic cars technically so it’s one of the nicest cars you can work with.”
Q: What are the differences between working in DTM and World RX?
LF: “At the end of the day they’re two completely different cars, but the way to work, to be very professional and very focused on detail is the same, and with both you can bring some very fresh ideas. For me it’s important to work in rallycross because when I am going back to DTM I am even more motivated. Both cars are very different, but the way to work is very similar.”
Q: Is it hard to come into a discipline with constant surface changes?
LF: “For sure the Trophee Andros was a big help to start with, especially on the differential side, which was challenging on the ice. For sure you keep learning every day in rallycross. You have a lot of guys with a lot of experience so to match them is a big challenge. You have to keep your eyes open.”
Q: What are your interests outside of motorsport?
LF: “I live in Germany near the Nurburgring. Mountain biking and road cycling, that’s my main thing outside of the paddock.”
Q: Is it exciting to be part of a sport that is growing so quickly?
LF: “You’re not really looking outside when you’re focused with your guys, but when you come into the paddock in the morning and you see all the nice awnings and all the people, it’s very nice to be part of this family. When you step back you think ‘wow’, it’s growing up very quickly and it’s a very nice atmosphere.”
Q: What is your advice to anybody wanting to become a World RX engineer?
LF: “If you’d like to do that, push for it and to bite onto every opportunity. It’s fantastic, there’s a lot of emotion and passion. If you want to do it, anyone can do it. You just need to be motivated and not afraid to work a lot of hours.”
Our previous 'meet the teams' story was with Team Peugeot-Hansen which you can read here.
Is there anyone in the World RX paddock you’d like to know more about? Get in touch and let us know.
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