|Home Shakedown with Luca Engstler
- German Luca Engstler is next to join Hyundai Motorsport’s Home Shakedown series, with the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup driver giving an insight into his new-look routine
- Luca is treating the extended break as an opportunity to learn more about himself as an athlete, trying new sports and cooking healthy meals
- Staying across the road from Engstler Motorsport’s factory has given Luca the opportunity to prepare for when racing restarts with his engineer and chief mechanic.
Luca Engstler is next to join Hyundai Motorsport’s Home Shakedown series, with the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup driver giving an insight into his new-look daily routine.
Luca is due to start his first full-time season of WTCR when racing is able to resume with Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, alongside experienced team-mate Nicky Catsburg. In the extended break from racing, Luca has been using his time to learn more about himself as an athlete; in the past few months he has tried new sports and focused on preparing healthy meals in a bid to stay race-fit.
Staying across the road from Engstler Motorsport’s factory in Wiggensbach, Luca has been able to meet with his engineer or chief mechanic as restrictions have begun to ease to prepare for the first session once racing is able to resume.
Home Shakedown with Luca Engstler
First of all Luca, where are you?
“As we’re not racing at the moment, I am at home with my parents. My mum is really happy about it because the last time I was home for this long and not spending all my time at karting tracks and racing circuits I was probably 11 or 12-years-old. I’m really enjoying spending some time with family and friends.”
How are you keeping busy?
“I am doing a lot of sport to stay healthy, and to learn more about my body. I’m reading a lot, and watching videos to understand how to improve my fitness and my mentality, trying to eat well and stay fit. I think we might have a very short and intense WTCR season, so I think it’s really important to focus on the racing. We live very close to the Alps so it’s easy for me to train around here.”
Can you tell us a bit more about how you’ve been staying fit?
“For me it’s quite good because we are allowed to meet one person from a different household. Now I can meet a training partner or my physio and we can go out in the mountains on the bike or hiking – I really tried to do every sport that we are allowed to under the restrictions just to see if I start to like different types of exercise. Normally I wouldn’t be on the bike very often but I’m really enjoying doing some trails now while, of course, being careful not to hurt myself.”
How have you found the extended break from racing?
“The last two years for me have been very intensive. I did a lot of championships at the same time – three in one season – to get the chance to show I was ready for WTCR. For that we had to work very hard. In 2019, my season started in the second week of January and finished shortly before Christmas. Now I’m enjoying learning a bit more about myself, what is good for me, how much sleep I need. In the first week I tried to relax a bit and to do things I’ve never been able to do, like sleeping late, because I was putting the pressure on myself for the next race. It was quite cool, but I quickly realised that’s not the way I want to live my life, so I started with a blank piece of paper and made myself a routine. I think it’s important to stick to your plan as an athlete even though it is not easy in these times. I get up early, try to do 4-5 training sessions, just to stay a bit ‘stressed’, because when we start again I think it will be difficult to switch back on.”
Can you tell us more about what you’ve learned?
“I want to try to cook for myself at races this season. If we have some events in Europe I am thinking travelling with a caravan to be able to prepare my own food. It’s also important to me to be fit, as if we have a bad weekend we might not have two weeks off to have a reset. I’m trying to be ready and do as much as I can. I have been going often with my car to the Nordschleife to do some laps, and I rode my bike to Salzburg to try and learn the track as I haven’t raced there before.”
Why has cooking become a focus for you?
“I always tried to eat healthily, but I didn’t concentrate on it too much before. When I have a bad weekend I always make a to-do list of what I need to change and analyse what I can do better. In the weeks before I am always eating well, and then on the weekends you have a limited choice at the race tracks and it is more difficult – for example you don’t have the ingredients for an acai bowl for breakfast! I know it is a key factor to being successful, but for me I also had other things I needed to do first on the track, such as win races, to prove myself for a seat in WTCR. Now I have a bit more time to focus on other areas I can improve.”
Have you been keeping in touch with the team?
“That’s the benefit of being at home with my parents; I am literally right across the road from the Engstler Motorsport workshop! I wake up and I can go over to speak to my engineer or chief mechanic, helping them prepare the cars for TCR Germany and to show them that we fight together. I go on a bike ride nearly every evening with my chief mechanic. My engineer and I are working to be as prepared as possible for the first race, and even though we are on hold for now everyone is looking forward to being in WTCR this season. We’ll be fighting against the best teams and drivers all over the world; we worked so hard for this, and now we can say we are fighting in a world cup.”
It sounds like you’ve been preparing hard for your first full-time season in WTCR; how will you feel when that time comes?
“I’m still smiling from ear-to-ear thinking about it, because I still can’t quite believe that I am there. It has shown me that if you have a goal and work hard for it, it pays off. We did have some tough times and made a lot of sacrifices along the way. I still have a lot to learn but I also want to show I work day and night. I have even told Andrea that whatever he needs – even if it is just driving the car out of the workshop into the trailer – to call me and I will be there. Racing is my life and I will do anything for it, and all my focus now is on the first free practice session.”
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