Rookie Blog: La Rocca

January 23, 2011
La Rocca (second from right) with the HP-Tech team

My name is Roberto La Rocca, but everyone calls me Robert. I will be participating in the 2011 F2000 Championship series as a rookie driver with a new team, HP-Tech Motorsport, and with a new car, Ralph Firman F2000. Throughout the season, I will be writing blogs about my race weekends. My goal for these blogs is for people to get a first person’s view of what it will be like to be a driver in this series. Bear with me on this blog, though, since it’s my first one! I have been following this series for a couple of seasons now, and I am in love with it. The thing that attracts me most about it is the competition within all the drivers, and also, the racetracks that the series go to.

First off, let me start with my personal background. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I have an older sister (Debbie) and a younger brother (Carlos). Most of my parents’ family migrated to Venezuela after WWII from Spain and Italy. We lived there for about six years, and then decided to move. We ended up in Treviso, Italy, where my dad’s aunts, uncles, and cousins live. While we lived there, we also traveled around Europe. It was an extraordinary experience for me to be able to travel Europe and visit many different countries, especially at that age.

Perhaps my best memory was attending a Ferrari exposition with my dad and his cousins. After that exposition, I was in love with Ferraris and became obsessed with them, studying every model and memorizing all I could about them. However, shortly after moving to Italy, we were on the move again. This time we went to Boca Raton, Florida. By this time, I was about seven years old.

I attended Saint Andrew’s School for middle and high school. After I graduated high school, I went to Lynn University, which is where I am currently studying. I am Majoring in International Business, and I do plan on graduating. Also, depending on my racing career, I plan on going back to school for my master’s degree. It is not easy going to class and racing at the same time, but I have some very nice and supportive professors that understand what I am doing and they make it much more manageable for me to do both. They realize that I am striving for my dreams and actually trying to make those dreams a reality. I have two quotes that I live my life by. One of them is by Christopher Gardner: “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period." The other is by Steve Jobs: ““Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” These are two very successful and accomplished guys and they must have done something right. I think it is safe to believe in what they say.

La Rocca in a F1000 car for HP-Tech

Ever since I was born, I have loved race cars. I remember when I was very young, my parents gave me an electric Formula One car that I would pretty much live in. I like to say that that was my first race car! I never had the opportunity of racing at a young age, though, since we were moving around a lot. I did the next best thing I could; I played racing games and racing simulators all the time. I was finally able to get in a race car during my senior year of high school. I participated in the Skip Barber Regional series, and I won my very first race. I went on to finish 4th in the championship. Later on, I joined their national series. It was very different from the regionals and I knew I had a great amount of learning to do. But by pushing myself, I was one of the most competitive drivers on the field by the end of the season. After that, I got myself into an F2000. I started to do some testing over winter with HP-Tech Motorsport. Everything clicked and they signed me for the 2011 season.

So now, we are looking forward to the start of the season. It is going to be a very tough, yet exciting year, and my team and I cannot wait to start. As I said before, we are a new team to the series, and we will be in a new car. We will have a ton to learn, but I know with whatever we accomplish, we will be very proud. We have set our goals, and I am positive we can achieve them. The 2011 season is getting closer and closer and I cannot wait until we all arrive at VIR!