Josef Záruba became the first-ever champion of the ESET iSeries virtual championship. How did he enjoy the series? What was his secret to success? The Mičánek Motorsport powered by Buggyra driver revealed all that and even more in our interview.
At the end of June, you won the first-ever ESET iSeries championship. How did you enjoy the inaugural season of this virtual racing series?
I’d definitely like to thank the organisers of the whole project. They did a lot of work in just a few weeks. I’m glad that I could take part in and even win the whole championship. I always saw it as a great Sunday with friends, because Broňa Formánek and Jiří Mičánek were always behind my shoulder during that. It was teamwork, they kept shouting at me when and how I should pass the driver in front of me, but I still did it how I wanted. But the guys always found something about it that they thought they played a role in. (laughter)
Virtual racing is often full of collisions and incidents. However, you mostly managed to stay out of trouble, which meant you were the only driver to score points in all races. How did you do it? What was behind that consistency? Did you have any special strategy?
I tried to race as if it was a real car and I had respect to fair-play, which probably was my key to success. A couple of times, I was caught in a race incident at the start. Then, I had to fight my way through, but I never gave up and I was able to get many points thanks to my pace. That decided. I think that apart from a few situations, I was able to read every situation correctly and avoid unnecessary contact. And during the last two rounds, I already knew that I could win it, so I tried to be careful. However, once somebody told me, that if I start from the front and pull away, then there’s a big chance I might avoid everything. So that was my strategy. (laughter)
Is there any favourite memory from that season?
Definitely Grobnik. I took my first win there and throughout the whole round, I knew that the guys have a hard time keeping up with me. If it wasn’t for the collision in Race 2, I would have won that one as well.
And what about the least favourite memory?
Probably the first Slovakia Ring. It was all so weird. There were lots of crashes and I was involved in one as well when I lost the first place after an unfortunate accident and I had to fight my way through.
Who was the toughest competitor?
Bartek Mirecki. His qualifying pace was something else and he never gave anything for free.
At the end of the season, you were the only Mičánek Motorsport powered by Buggyra driver who was fighting for the championship. Even though these are just virtual races, were there any team orders in place during the final round? For example, when you dropped to the back after a collision at the beginning of Race 2?
We all focused on ourselves. I think it wouldn’t be even fair to others.
How close is the virtual and real racing? Do you think you’ve learnt something in the ESET iSeries that you can bring over to the real racing?
I think that everybody try to practise on a simulator before real racing. Just to learn the track or try to focus on car set-up. To me, virtual racing is good fun for the evenings that I want to enjoy. I’ve definitely found out who I should avoid on the track though! (laughter)
Last year, you were racing with Mičánek Motorsport powered by Buggyra in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe and also in ESET V4 Cup. What about this year? Do you expect more starts in ESET V4 Cup?
This year, I want to be in the paddock as well. However, I’ll serve more like a coach for Mičánek Motorsport powered by Buggyra. I will get behind the wheel only occasionally, just to do a reference lap time or to give feedback to the engineers.