I still enjoy racing, says Petr Kačírek

I still enjoy racing, says Petr Kačírek

Petr Kačírek has been behind the wheel for three decades. He started in cup races and in the last few years, he alternates between circuits and rally. He admits that he is no longer the predator on the track as in the beginning, but he is not thinking about the end of his career any time soon. He still has a lot of plans.

You are on the edge of your 31st season. What still motivates you to race?
Yes, when it started with the first race in the Fiesta Cup in the spring of 1992, it probably didn’t occur to me that in 30 years I would be racing in the Audi R8 or Fabia R5 and I would still enjoy it… But that’s right, I don’t know what would I do at home – instead of those 25 racing weekends per year. In addition, my son is in go-karts and he is quite good at it, so when he grows up and will move in the big cars in three years, there will probably be a time when I will finish career and focus only on him. But so far, I have motivation and it keeps me going.

So you will race as long as you can?
As I say, I want to do it for at least another three years, then I put my son in those top cars and I may occasionally sit in the cars of my generation, like BMW M3 GTR from 2001 or rally car Ford Capri RS from 1972 – both for historical championships.

What are you most proud of in your long career?
Just that I lasted so long. Drivers and teams have been coming and going for those 30 years, only Duck Racing and I stay. Of course, there were a lot of victories that I like to remember during that time, but more importantly, when there were bad times and some losses, we overcame it with the team and continued.

Let’s talk about the ESET Cup. Will we see you again in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3? Do you plan to race all events of the season?
Yes, we continue with our Audi. Even though it is a bit of a grandmother, she would still have good results in the hands of a young and fast rider. Although I am no longer so fast, even racing experience can sometimes bring quality results. We are planning most of the Eset Cup events, but I still have to combine it with the rallies and most of all I want to be with my son this year, who, after last year’s victory in the Easykart 100 class, switched to the KZ2 championship and it will probably be quite difficult in the first races. But we start at the Hungaroring, then the Red Bull Ring, which is a duty, and then we’ll see. I will only race in sprints, 25 minutes in car is enough. If Dan Skalický joins us during the year, he would start in endurance.

As you mentioned, your Audi is no longer truly competitive against newer cars. So who do you consider your biggest rival?
That’s right, but you have to find your your opponents at every stage of your career. When I was young, I went head to head, I wanted to overtake everyone at all costs, no matter the circumstances. Today I know that I don’t have the speed of the young guys who sit in it every weekend. So I compete against people with 50+ age with older technology. Of course, there aren’t many of them in the field, so sometimes I have to try to make a young man nervous in the new GT3…

So instead of taking unnecessary risk, you are cautious?
Yes, I am no longer young gun. However, I try to benefit from those 300 starts. Thanks to my experience, I usually start well and I’m up to four or five places in the first corner. But then it’s a fight, because I don’t belong to that place with my lap times and it’s very difficult to stay there. I just try to drive with my head, make no mistakes and save the car. As we say at Duck Racing: Ducks are counted only at the finish line…

Has Audi undergone any technical modifications that would make it a little bit faster?
Some major technical adjustments within the GT3 regulations are not allowed, so it’s always about finding the right setup for a given circuit. We focus on ensuring that the car is in 100% condition and completely functional and reliable. As long as the seconds are in me, there’s no point in spending hundreds of thousands of euros on hundreds of seconds thanks to car modifications. We try to setup the car for my driving style so that I feel comfortable and well in it. If everything fits right, there will be tenths to gain.

Last year, Dennis and Bolek Waszek with Lamborghini also started for Duck Racing. Will this cooperation continue this year?
We’ll see, Bolek and are great friends, especially in Dubai, where we both stay. We have a lot in common, in addition to motorsport also good taste for food and drink, so why not continue with cooperation?

How do you rate the return of the Red Bull Ring to the calendar?
It is an iconic circuit, although the old version of the Osterreichring was famous and beautiful. I was lucky enough to race on it in the early nineties and it was a great experience. Right after the start trying to survive first chicane or keeping the Bosch turn at full throttle. That was the right adrenaline. The current circuit is a bit sterile. Full throttle, brake, turn into the corner, and so on. But of course the place still breathes with formula 1, so it’s nice be there…

And what about Grobnik? If I’m not mistaken, you didn’t start there with the ESET Cup.
I started in Grobnik once, maybe 10 years ago with a BMW M3 GTR. Then I guess there was no activity for a while and when the Eset Cup visited Grobnik, we went there in 2020, when Dan Skalický was fighting for all the titles. That year everything was adapted to Dan, so he drive in most of the races alone. The track is nice, interesting, but difficult. And yes, it’s far and it’s awful hot there in the summer. So probably nothing for me anymore…

As you mentioned, circuits are not your only domain. Where can we also see you this year?
It is true that I enjoy the rally and especially the Škoda Fabia R5. It is an unbelievable car, which drives so much adrenaline into the body. Driver feels like in another world. Therefore, I would like to continue in rally. Unfortunately, there are not enough weekends for a lot of races, so combining circuits, rallies and the son´s go-kart is quite challenging. I will do some sprint races, some rally in Czech nation championship, something in the Middle East, probably the Oman rally again, also I would like to start at the Lausitz rally, which I and Petra Řiháková really liked last year. Perhaps we will finally complete our historic Ford Capri RS, with which I want to go to the Czech historical championship. Last but not least, Vojta Stajf and I are planning to return to Mexico to La Carrera Panamerican race. Not this year, but we want to do it as soon as possible. So there is still something to plan, prepare, organize and dream about…