Cypriot racing driver Vladimiros Tziortzis says the disruption to his schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic is ‘hopefully just a short break’ and that he will get back to racing soon.
The 23-year-old Nicosia resident, who is driving for the Alex Caffi Motorsports team in the Nascar Whelen Euroseries 2020, gave the Cyprus Mail an exclusive interview, in which he discussed how the pandemic is affecting him, how he is keeping in shape and his plans for the season.
Hello Vladimiros. Are you the only professional race car driver currently representing Cyprus internationally?
VT: There is one more driver representing our country abroad and this is Eftichios (Tio) Ellinas. He participated last year in the Porsche Supercup, with very impressive results. There are also some other drivers representing Cyprus abroad, but they are in different categories (rally, drift, etc.)
How has the coronavirus affected your race schedule?
VT: Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected everything out there. The positive thing in motorsport is that races are only postponed and not cancelled.
The first race of the Nascar Whelen Euroseries was postponed from 26 April to 21 June.
The 2020 calendar is currently as follows:
Autodrom Most, Czech Republic (20-21 June)
Raceway Venray, Netherlands (11 July)
Vallelunga Circuit, Italy (12-13 September)
Zolder, Belgium (3-4 October)
Hockenheimring, Germany (17-18 October)
Circuit Ricardo Tormo Valencia, Spain (31 October-1 November)
Brands Hatch, UK (to be announced)
What are your plans for the immediate future?
VT: My schedule for 2020 will see me compete in the Nascar Whelen Euroseries with Alex Caffi Motorsports team.
I also have in my plans to participate in a winter Formula 3 Championship by the end of the year. My aim for 2020 is to have consistent results in all races, which is very important for the overall standings. I will give the best of myself to achieve the best results in both championships. Also, when the current situation is over for sure there will not be a break but we will get back racing!
At this time, I would like to thank the leading pharmaceutical company in Cyprus – Remedica, and their people for the excellent and very important support. We will be ‘racing’ together in all the battles and I will give the best of myself to represent Cyprus in the best possible way.
What are you doing to stay fit and healthy?
VT: Before the pandemic I was training every day at the gym, but with the current situation, in order to stay fit, I exercise early in the morning every day for two hours at home.
My main types of exercises are: cardio, weights, balance, reaction and focus exercises, as well as power yoga.
I am also following a daily food program. Both exercise and nutrition are very important to me, and are necessary to stay healthy and to be fully ready for my upcoming races.
Are you having any contact with your team at the moment?
VT: Yes we are in close contact, sharing the non-stop news of the pandemic and we are trying to find the best solutions to any unexpected problems.
The positive thing is that the Nascar Whelen Euroseries created the EuroNASCAR Esports Series (a virtual Nascar Championship), and I’m very happy that I’m participating in it, together with my team – Alex Caffi Motorsports.
The virtual championship features NASCAR Whelen Euro Series teams and drivers and is running on the iRacing simulator.
It is very important to us that they decided to create the virtual championship. It gives you the opportunity to meet your team and competitors, even if it is only digitally.
Overall it gives drivers and teams motivation. You feel the support from your sponsors, and generally we all have fun together.
Already the first two virtual rounds have been completed, and I’m very happy as I made it into the final stages for both rounds (top 36 drivers).
The pace is very impressive and I’m already looking forward to the next race. For each virtual round there is a live broadcast through the Facebook page of Nascar Whelen Euroseries, as well as on my own Facebook page.
The schedule is as follows:
May 19: Round 3 – Circuit Park Zandvoort
Jun 2: Round 4 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Jun 16: Semi-final 1 – Brands Hatch
Jun 30: Semi-final 2 – Charlotte Roval
Jul 14: Final – Circuit Zolder
How do you think motorsport will change due to the coronavirus?
VT: It looks like we are going back to racing soon, but without spectators and only with live broadcasts.
Sure, it is a difficult situation for everyone, affecting individuals, teams and events and we must also consider the financial implications.
But in motorsport there is always the passion to race and always passionate fans – despite anything else going on in the world
I believe that when the virus begins to disappear everything will be as before and much better. This is just a short break and everyone will come back stronger.
What does this mean for future generations of drivers?
VT: When it’s over, slowly everything will come back. There is a chance that the current pandemic will unfortunately close down some racing teams that were not so successful in the past, but for future generations of drivers, I think it will not affect them.
The most disappointing thing is that the current pandemic has cost many drivers out there (including me) some months of real driving/preparation, but when you follow your everyday program (exercising, simulator), then there is nothing to be afraid of when normal life comes back.
For more information about Vladimiros Tziortzis, please visit his official website www.vladimirostziortzis.info as well as his official social media accounts:
Facebook: Vladimiros Tziortzis