BRASELTON, Ga. -- Strike up a conversation with Dario Franchitti and you almost never know which trail it will follow.
This weekend, the four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion is co-driving a Honda-powered Level 5 Motorsports car in the P2 class of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with his brother Marino. It's a more relaxed event for the duo, though they have their sights set on winning the race and helping the primary team car clinch the class championship.
So here are five off-the-cuff topics that the Target Chip Ganassi Racing veteran expounded on:
In most sports siblings don’t get to compete together. How cool is this?
“We’ve done it a couple of times at Daytona. It’s really a lot of fun. It’s an unusual feeling, too. You always want to be faster than your teammate and in this case I don’t really mind. I just want to be as quick. The other day he went out and did a lap two-tenths of a second quicker than me and I had a big smile on my face. We drive with a very similar style. If you look at the date, the traces are almost identical, the feelings we come back with the descriptions are similar. It’s very, very strange. He’ll come to Nashville with his wife Holly or we’ll go to London where they live or meet up in Scotland, which is our favorite choice. The other day we were in the bus after dinner just talking about setup, bouncing ideas off of each other. He does an amazing job, so it’s fun to watch him work.”
A referendum signed this week would allow Scots in 2014 a straight yes-or-no vote on independence from the United Kingdom. Do you have a vote?
“I think I took myself off the voting register. I don’t have a vote anywhere now anymore. I just pay taxes lots of places.”
Jack Hawksworth, the Star Mazda champion, is a finalist for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and will test next month at Silverstone to determine the young driver winner. Is it the same program you went through?
“Yes, it is. I did it two years in a row – in 1991, when Oliver Gavin won it, and 1992 and I won it – and it’s a really nerve-racking, intense couple of days because you know if it goes well and you perform well it could make all the difference in the world. You have to manage the expectations and focus on the job. I’m excited that he is getting the opportunity. He deserves it. He’s had a great season over here and I’m looking forward to seeing him again next year. If he could win that it would be a big step in his career, although what he’s done in Star Mazda has been very impressive. I hope he does well (in the test) because it’s a great award that I’m proud to have won -- a long time ago. It’s helped a lot of drivers on the way up.”
It’s the 50th anniversary of James Bond, with the 23rd feature film in the franchise being released soon. Sean Connery the best Bond? Loaded question, I know.
“Yes. Absolutely. Although all of the Bonds have brought something different to it. Sean Connery is my favorite, but I think Daniel Craig has done a fantastic job. When they announced he was going to be the next Bond I was one of the guys who was, ‘Really?’ He’s done a great job.”
The past three years I’ve asked you – after about a month, just like now – if it’s sunk in that you won the championship. Has it sunk in yet what transpired this season?
“We definitely have a list of things we need to improve, and we actually did the same the three years we won the championship. We went through (the season) race by race and looked at where we need to improve. We’re doing that again because there are a lot of areas we could improve on. The competition will come back harder next year so we’ll have to step up our game and try to get back up on top. Obviously, Indy was the highlight. We seemed to qualify pretty well. Otherwise, it was a bit of a struggle at times.”