Road to Indy
ASHLEY ASKS…… Phillippe Denes
When the inaugural Ricmotech Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires iRacing eSeries took the green flag, you knew that Phillippe Denes was going to be fast with his experience on the service. However, nobody could have predicted how dominant that he was.
After winning the first three rounds, Denes was able to secure the championship at Mid-Ohio this past weekend. Prior to the event, though, he took some time to speak with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL about his experience, and expectations when we go back to the track.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on the Road to Indy eSeries?
PHILLIPPE DENES: Well, it is run really well for sure. They have a bunch of people behind the scenes helping out, very professional. They have driver’s meetings, rules – everything you would have in a real series. It’s almost as good as it can be compared to the real thing. I have no complaints about it. It’s honestly the best series that I’ve ran on iRacing by far.
POW: Obviously, you’ve had some success yourself so far. It has to feel pretty good.
DENES: Yeah, it’s been really good so far. I really hoping to seal the championship in the last round (at Road America) but made a little mistakes here and there, so couldn’t get it done at that one but feel pretty good entering the finale. I think the goal of the championship – just looking at winning race-by-race.
POW: Prior to the series, what was your iRacing experience like?
DENES: Let’s just say a lot. So, I’ve met a lot of friends through iRacing as I started when I was 13. I’ve met people like Braden Eves, Andre Castro – a lot of names that you can name, I’ve met off iRacing and we’ve been playing together since 2012/2013. So I have a lot of iRacing time, for sure.
POW: So what else have you been up to during this time?
DENES: There’s not much to do. I’ve been driving the sim a lot and trying to keep in shape with whatever workouts that I can do at home or going on a jog. I have a girlfriend so we hang out, and that’s just about it.
POW: I get what you’re saying as there’s only so much that you can do with that we’re allowed.
DENES: Also watching a lot of YouTube, too.
POW: Any particular series that has caught your attention?
DENES: Well, I have been keeping up with a lot of sim racing, I guess real racing now that’s going on. IndyCar – I’m watching that every race. Some of the other series with the pro drivers like ‘Real Racers Never Quit,’ but it’s pretty cool seeing all of these different names going up against each other that you wouldn’t see normally.
POW: When we are able to get back to the real race track, what are your thoughts?
DENES: I think it’s going to be really interesting, actually. We don’t have actually know when we’re going to be back – who knows. But I think once we do get back in, it’ll be interesting in some people coming over from the sim and have less experience, like me. I feel really confident right now and I can feel I can transfer it into real life.
The other thing is you have other people who have more experience in real life, they may find speed by being in the car in a lot. Now that they haven’t been in the car for awhile, it might bunch up the running order depending how consistent someone can be. I think it’ll be interesting, I feel good heading in, but I don’t know when.
POW: What are the goals when we do get to the track?
DENES: I just think I want to get the maximum out of the car. I want to be fighting for podiums and wins, and fighting for that top spot with RP Motorsport. So my goal is to be as strong as I possibly can.
POW: How did you get initially started in racing?
DENES: My dad was a volunteer doctor at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. So he took me out there all the time and we would just go and watch whatever wound run – Champ Car, Moto GP, historical, all kinds of stuff. That got my love for motorsports going, and he was always a Formula 1 fan as well so we would always watch Formula 1 whenever it was on. Then one day, I said, ‘Why do I not have a go-kart yet?’ and my dad sort of said the same thing. So we got a go-kart and I started racing.
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