Fredrik Ekblom is one of the most experienced racing drivers in Sweden, having raced in Formula 3000, Indy Car, IMSA, Le Mans and more. The Swede will embark on a new challenge this year with Polestar Cyan Racing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, join us as we ask him ten questions about what is to come.
Q1: How are you preparing for the 2016 WTCC season?
”I am studying the WTCC races from last year and the circuits we are going to drive. I have also stepped up my physical training, currently focusing on running, rowing and of course strength training. I have a strict training setup that is evaluated quarterly with my personal trainer in order to optimise it for me in the best way possible.”
Q2: How big is it for you personally, having raced in so many championships, to take on a world championship with Polestar Cyan Racing?
”This is huge. And it is not only because it’s the WTCC, the entire setup with racing in a team of people I’ve know for so long is incredibly motivating. I would say my experience is going to be a great strength heading into so many unknowns in our first year with a new car, new tracks and so on.”
Q3: How will you go about converting from driving a rear-wheel driven car in the STCC to a front-wheel driven car in the WTCC?
”Either you can drive a racing car, or you can’t drive a racing car. It should be of no difference if you are a professional driver.”
Q4: You have driven WTCC races in the past with the previous regulations, how does the new cars compare to the old ones?
”The difference is actually greater than I thought. The new car is so much faster. It is more difficult to drive, more edgy. It takes more from you as a driver to be really fast and that is exciting.”
Q5: How has it been being part of the development work from the very start of this project?
”It is incredibly unique and this is exactly the setup you dream of as a racing driver when you start racing. I have had a really long career and opportunities like these are super rare, especially as I am racing with my team mate Thed Björk whom I’ve known since I was 15 years old and working with team owner Christian Dahl who I raced against in gokarts when I was 12 years old.”
Q6: What do you think will be your main challenges in this first year of the WTCC programme?
”To learn the car, its characteristics and the new circuits and their characteristics. It will be a great challenge not only for me, but for the entire team alongside delivering two cars that are reliable and quick.”
Q7: Which races are you looking forward to the most this year?
”The Nürburgring. It is such an awesome circuit. But it is also going to be really tough for us with no experience from the race there last year, you need a special setup there compared to the other circuits. But that is of course also the beauty and challenge of that circuit.”
Q8: How big of a transition will it be work-wise with your engineer, mechanics, etc. going from the smaller circuit in Sweden to the big international circuits of the WTCC?
”There is of course a difference, but you get into it quite quickly. What I am really looking forward to is the vast array of setup possibilities and tools of the WTCC cars. I have better possibilities to do a good job with my engineer and that is going to be really fun, it feels liberating.”
Q9: What do you expect from from the 2016 WTCC season?
”It is really difficult to say this early as we haven’t driven against our competitors yet. But I would be really disappointed if we are not in the top five during the season. I actually think we are going to be on the podium and I would not be surprised if we could win some races.”
A10: What is your total goal with the WTCC programme?
”Of course to win it all. It is something I spoke about with our team owner Christian Dahl the day he signed me in 2012.”