Tomáš Pekař competed against himself this year

Tomáš Pekař competed against himself this year

The overwhelming dominance of Tomáš Pekař was evident at every race weekend in the Clio Cup this season. Most of his victories, achieved through start-to-finish control, might have seemed uneventful. However, Pekař had a contingency plan for when he wasn’t battling anyone—he started competing against himself.

Tomáš, after the major accident at Most in the first corner, you had a chance to secure the title in advance at the next event. How did you approach such a decisive race after the accident experience?
After the incident at Most, I wanted to avoid similar situations. I was cautious in the first corner of Slovakia Ring and then focused on driving as fast as possible and setting consistent lap times.

You secured another Clio Cup title with a victory in the penultimate event. What motivates you to continue racing when most of your wins are start-to-finish?
I don’t want to sound conceited, but it turned out that no one could compete with me this year. Except for Jerzy Spinkiewitz at Hungaroring. So, I see Clio Cup starts as a form of training for the European Clio Cup championship. At least in the initial laps, I can compete with faster fourth-generation Clios, but then they pull away, and I end up competing against myself. For example, at Slovakia Ring, the heat was intense, so I treated it as a challenging test for my body.

But your victories are excellent promotion for the Carpek Racing team, right?
Certainly, winning is good for the team. People notice us and know that we’re doing our job well. When there are multiple drivers in the team, it’s positive for everyone. I share data and onboard footage with our guys, so they have up-to-date information, and we can discuss all the insights.

Over the years, Carpek Racing has seen a number of young and fast drivers come and go. But taming their hot-headedness can be challenging…
It’s true that sometimes races are conflict-free, and sometimes things just don’t go well. In Most, two of our drivers collided after the checkered flag, resulting in a conflict. Of course, I would prefer such incidents not to happen, but they are young drivers, full of determination to race. That occasionally leads to such situations. My task is to resolve conflicts, to get them to communicate with each other. The worst thing is when drivers stop talking to each other and start pretending the other doesn’t exist.

Tomáš, one last question. What does the orange color mean to you?
(A moment of reflection, editor’s note.) It all started when I raced in the Octavia Cup with Ivan Vršecký. I got an orange car, and that color has stuck with us to this day. There have been some exceptions at times, but we always come back to orange, which has become our trademark. Additionally, it attracts television cameras. In the past, during the Clio Cup Bohemia era, it was clear how we drew the attention of cameramen, and often we were in the shot for the longest time.”