Daniel Serra certainly made his mark a month ago when he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMGTE Pro class. He shared the #97 Aston Martin Vantage with Darren Turner and Jonathan Adam, and scored a win in his very first participation!
How are you feeling a month after your victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
"It's great. I'm still...my English is not very good...it's still sinking in. First, it was really great to be there. It was my first time at Le Mans, to win is unbelievable. So it's a good feeling."
The final lap in LMGTE Pro was thrilling between your car, the #97 Aston Martin Vantage, and the #63 Corvette C7.R. Thoughts?
"It is much easier to be in the car. Outside is not something that I'm used to and I was so nervous. I think I understood how my mom feels when she is watching me racing. It's strange to watch your car fighting for a position and you don't know exacty what is going on. It was a different sensation. Yeah, it is much easier to be in the car."
Before you arrived at Le Mans, what did the race mean to you?
"I think Le Mans is the biggest race. All the drivers want to do it once. And I had never been there even to watch so it was impressive. The championship is big, how many people are there watching, it's a fantastic event. It's bigger than I imagined! Plus, I had to come straight from Brazil and arrived at the last minute. It's great and it's big, it's not just one moment, it's everything."
What is the perception of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Brazil where single-seaters dominate, and it's the home of champions like Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi and Rubens Barrichello?
"For people who understand motorsports, they know it's probably the biggest [race]. So for people that like racing, it was a good accomplishment. I think there is a place for endurance racing there, of course single-seaters and Formula 1 are more famous there, even Stock Car (in which he competes, Ed.), the biggest championship. But I think with this result if I come here more often, it will get more famous there and they will pay more attention to it."
Was your win the best moment of your career so far?
"It's a good moment. I won in Le Mans and then I come back to Brazil and I had won the biggest race that we have in our championship, so for sure it's a good moment."
After your victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, what is your next goal?
"This year I'm doing both championships. Here (in the World Endurance Championship, Ed.) I will keep helping the team achieve its target, and in Brazil it's to fight for the championship and hope I can win. Those are my two targets, my short term targets."
How did you come to join Aston Martin?
"A few years ago, when Dunlop was thinking about coming back to GT, they were looking for a test driver, and an engineer in Brazil, he was not my engineer to be honest, but we knew each other there and he had a link to Dunlop. So he said 'hey I have a guy that may can fit this position.' So I think two and a half years ago I came and started working with Dunlop. Then when Dunlop got the contract with Aston, I started testing Aston Martin and then the team saw me running, and that's how."
What marked you the most when you first experienced European circuits?
"There is a lot of differences. There it's your car. But here you are sharing the car, you have more strategy, you have more options on the car. In Brazil, the championship, everything is the same. The same chassis, the same suspension and so on, we are always working on the final set-up. Here you can use new parts, test tires, that's something I'm not used to. It's the technical part and then you have to share a car. It's different but it's great. I think racing in Brazil helped me here, and racing here will help me in Brazil. So it's good to be doing both."
As a result of Daniel Serra's performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin has decided to extend its collaboration with the Brazilian driver through the end of the season. Consequently, the #97 Aston Martin Vantage will be the only car in the LMGTE Pro class shared by three drivers.