Interview: Jim Libecco

April 30, 2014
Jim Libecco

1. Who are you?

I am a father, a racer, a triathlete, a physician, a prankster, a foodie, and a seeker of new adventure.  I wear many hats in a given week from running my own business while trying to be a good father.  I am working to become a faster triathlete and a faster driver through a regimented training program.  I feel stronger with each event in this car this year.

2. You had a great start to the season at Road Atlanta, what are your goals for the rest of the year and how will you accomplish them?

Last year we had several problems with the car that didn’t show the true potential that we had.  They weren’t regular problems, but rather things that we couldn’t predict or prepare for.  Things like two failed TPS sensors at Lime Rock, one in each race.  A failed rear upright at Summit Point.  Clogged near new fuel injectors, et cetera.  

For this year, we want to be able to show what we can put together as a team.  Jay at PRL Motorsports has done a great job getting the car prepped for this season and has been on top of the car keeping it ready for the next session.  

As we start to gain more knowledge over the tuning of the car with John Walko’s assistance, we are getting closer to tuning the car to my driving style.  It has been quite a change going from the Formula Enterprise car to the Van Diemen F2000 car.  They are very different machines and require a very different driving style to make them quick.  The second year in this car should put us on the podium.  I want to be a podium contender every weekend.  There is a lot of very, very good engineering and driving going on in this series.  It takes real talent from the whole team to be on top in the F2000 Championship Series.

3. Who do you think is your main competition?

I am probably my biggest competition at this point.  I need consistency in this car and more seat time.  I am always ready for a good scrap with so many fast drivers in the series.  The Citation cars are very quick with great driving and engineering.  The Spectrum cars have great potential.  That said, I think the Van Diemen cars will remain competitive for some time to come.

4. How have you developed as a driver between this year and last?

I have invested lots of cold mornings working out to be at the top of my fitness.  I have spent more time reading and watching video on race craft.  I like to drive clean, but sometimes I feel I could be more aggressive.

5. Why race in F2000? What makes it appealing?

Why not F2000?  These are great cars.  They take so much finesse to drive quickly.  They are not a point and shoot sort of car.  They are so nimble and responsive.  The costs of operation are hard to beat.

The F2000 Championship Series couldn’t be more inviting and challenging for a driver.  There are many top drivers in the series and there is competition for everyone.  This series is run professionally with a focus on top tracks, top competition, while limiting costs.  I think it is the best series I have run in thus far.  

5a. Why green?

I have always grown up with the belief that green is an unlucky color for a race car.  They bring bad luck.  After all of the problems last year, this is my way of taunting the fates.  It isn’t just green, it is obnoxious green.  It is my way of turning a corner, no pun intended, this year.

6. What are the keys to racing an F2000 car successfully?

Preparation, courage, intelligence, and a desire to have fun.

7. Any hobbies besides race cars?

I am a triathlete between my times as driver.  I help my children’s soccer teams and enjoy spending time with my family.  I spend time lecturing on skin topics.  I guess proper employment has to happen at some point.

8. What should we ask the next driver we interview?

Where is your favorite passing point on the F2000 Championship Series tracks?