Daniel Skalický has described his 2020 season as his best ever in our interview.
Daniel, your 2020 ESET Cup season was very successful as you took three championship titles. You have managed to win the GT Sprint championship title, GT Endurance championship title and also the GT3 Endurance championship title. And you have also finished 2nd in the GT3 Sprint championship. How would you describe your 2020 season?
It couldn’t have been any better. I almost felt bad about winning it all and that the fans won’t believe it had any level of competitiveness (laughing – editorial note). Maybe I’m even glad that Gregor Zsigo took that GT3 Sprint title. It really couldn’t have gone any better. We won our biggest championship in the highest category; I don’t know if we could be any better. So, it was the best season for me and the Duck Racing team, just phenomenal.
What is going to be your favourite memory of this year’s ESET Cup season?
That’s hard to say, there were several moments. First, Grobnik and a tight battle with Konopka. I spent a whole hour (in the Endurance race – editorial note) behind him. I couldn’t pass him because his Lamborghini was much faster on the straights, but I was right behind him in the corners. I was waiting for him to make a mistake, but he didn’t. That was quite an experience.
Another such moment came in the Endurance race at Slovakiaring when we were fighting with Rosina and Zsigo. Rosina was trying to build a gap, while Zsigo was supposed to maintain it. I was trying to catch up with them. That also was very exciting.
And then, of course, Hungaroring (another Endurance race), where I was able to get past these two drivers and I was also battling with Lacko and Koloc. It’s hard to say which of these moments was stronger, but they all were very exciting.
And what about the worst memory?
It was the Endurance race at Slovakiaring when Rosina did a driver swap (with Zsigo – editorial note) after the pit window closed, and instead of some adequate penalty, he only got a drive-through penalty.
Also, I struggled with a gearbox there. We were even practicing with a faulty gearbox. Whenever I went to 2nd gear, I couldn’t change it for at least another 20 seconds. We didn’t know if we would be able to race at all. Luckily, we handled it and we could race. But I couldn’t change the gears as needed and that’s why they (Rosina and Zsigo – editorial note) managed to pull away so much.
I don’t think it was a fair penalty. They swapped very late and I had to avoid a car after an accident, which cost me more time. The race in Slovakia didn’t really go well, but mostly because of the technical issues.
How would you compare this season with the previous ones?
When I won the championship in a 3.5L category with a BMW M3 GTR, that was really nice. There were 4 of us, who were very competitive, and sometimes we really raced door-to-door. In the slower category, it is much more competitive as the cars are more equal and you can’t build such a gap. But here, it’s much more on the edge. Also, in the highest class, when you fight for the best positions, you also fight for the best positions in the overall standings and that’s the best thing. In the 3.5L class, you always knew that even if you win, it’s the 2nd tier, because such a car never has a chance in the overall standings.
Now, the ESET Cup is built in a way that even slower cars can fight for the overall win, which I like. Everybody has a chance. If you win the race in the overall standings and with the strongest car, it’s the best you can get. You could say that it was the best season for me and the Duck Racing team. I won the 3 championship titles and Petr (Kačírek – editorial note) is 3rd in the GT3 Sprint.
What about your plans for the next year? Do you want to continue in the ESET Cup with the Duck Racing team and their Audi R8 LMS Ultra car?
Definitely! We have a strong connection, and I don’t think I could leave the Duck Racing team. We have a good base there and we’re all friends, a family.
But we’re also in discussions with Libor Milota and a possibility of racing with his Mercedes, which is something I’d like to do. I prefer a car with an engine in the front and a light rear. But I somehow managed to get used to the engine in the rear in the Audi.
Of course, Mercedes has more power and it’s a newer car. I race with a car that’s 10 years old and you can always see that on your lap times. You could be the best driver on the grid, but you still can’t beat good drivers with good cars. But we’re just considering that. Right now, the priority is the Duck Racing team with Petr Kačírek and his Audi.
You’re well-known for your good physical shape. What does your winter preparation look like?
It’s always the same – fighting. That’s it as I don’t have time for anything else. I focus mostly on a box, that’s where I believe that one can do the most for their physical condition. I did lots of different sports and I’ve got to say that box practice is the best one. The only better thing is probably just the MMA, which is totally crazy. But the box practice is very physically demanding and it’s going to help you in other sports as well.
Do you have any long-term dreams in your racing career? Something that you would like to achieve one day?
My dream is to race at Le Mans. I prefer endurance races rather than sprints, and I’m interested in all kinds of endurance races around the world. I’d like to take an overall victory with a good team in some pretty good series, like WEC. I’d drive an LMP or a GT, just to race in a world championship and to take part in endurance racing.