Igor Skuz targets WTCC step-up as soon as this year

Former Ukrainian Touring Car champion Igor Skuz endured a tough opening weekend with Campos Racing in the FIA European Touring Car Cup season opener at Monza, but has his sights set on the rival BMW drivers heading to the next round at Slovakia, as well as a move up to the WTCC.36-year-old Skuz made his ETCC debut last year, driving at Monza with Liqui Moly Team Engstler before switching to SUNRED (now Campos Racing) for the final two rounds in their SEAT León TDI. Skuz took two second place finishes at Imola in the S2000 class and wrestled his way to fourth in the class standings.For the start of 2013 at Monza, the constant rain favoured the SEAT Supercopa class competitors, with Skuz finishing tenth in class and 19th overall in race one, and not able to finish the second race in the normally aspirated SEAT León TFSI.Igor Skuz offers his perspective on this year’s European Touring Car Cup, which featured a staggering 36 car entry for Monza, and his aspirations in touring car racing to TouringCarTimes.

Q: What made you decide to return to the ETCC this season, both in general and with Campos Racing?

IS: First of all – to get experience. I have to get knowledge on European tracks, to get enough feeling in a S2000 car in which I don’t have much experience and to be prepared to do the next step in my racing career – to start in WTCC full time. In regards to SUNRED, now Campos, it’s a simple answer! It’s a professional team on which you can fully rely.

Q: With the SEAT León TDI banned for 2013, how much has that hurt your aspirations this season? In the Super 2000 class at Monza, it certainly appeared the BMW 320si was the car to have over the León TFSI?

IS: Of course it was somewhat easier in TDI – it has more flat line torque and it in a way it’s a forgiving car.. It’s not a secret that for now the León TFSI has less speed than the BMW, but I think together with team we will get a solution to this situation and we will show that more agile TFSI has got what it takes to challenge the Bavarian cars’ drivers. It’s motivated me even more plus I have confidence in SUNRED/Campos Racing.

Q: How do you find the introduction and growth of the Supercopa class in the ETCC?

IS: It’s good! It’s a more competitive field! The more cars on the grid the bigger challenge for drivers and a more sporting show for spectators and TV audience. The first round showed it – more action is always good in general. Yes, their turbo engines give them some advantage, especially on a wet track, but as for us, S2000 pilots – we race in a separate classification to the SMT guys, so it’s all fair play.

Q: With new manufacturers and teams set to enter the WTCC, what needs to happen for you to make the move onto the World stage?

IS: In ETCC I get experience and with SUNRED/Campos Racing and then we will go to the WTCC. Moreover, it may happen in a one-off start later this season. In Marrakech everybody can see that 1.6-litre turbo SEAT can beat factory teams and the three-time World Champion! Yvan Muller couldn’t pass Pepe (Oriola), and newcomer private team ALL-INKL are using SEATs and from the start are showing their teeth in both rounds and not only by Rob Huff. I trust the Spanish brand and team.

Q: It’s a very patriotic and interesting livery on the car this season. How do you come up with it?

IS: I think the answer to this question is obvious! I’m a patriot of my country – Ukraine. I love my beautiful homeland and for me in choosing the livery for my racing car it was an obvious decision – only national colours! But I wanted more than just a flag on the roof of a car, so professional designers did a job according to my ideas, gave it the dynamic touch I wanted, and outcome of this work strikes everybody immediately. I’m glad you ask this question – obviously it appeals to you too.