LD: Definitely, and I'm still learning. The first thing is I have to brake with my right foot now because with the Porsche you must use the clutch for downshifting, so that was a big change. There are also many subtle differences like having a much bigger steering wheel. With the handling and braking, it is really like learning to drive a racecar again.
ec: Of the transition of a prototype to a GT car, JJ Lehto was once asked how it felt to go "from going through traffic to becoming traffic." I'd ask you the same question.
LD: Well, I personally don't like it because racing is all about going fast, passing people and not being passed. That's why my wife is driving me around all the time at home, so I can get used to all the cars passing me. [Laughter-we shut off tape and take five to recover.]
ec: Take us through a lap of Long Beach and highlight how you took it with your Acura LMP2 prototype versus a rear-engine GT car. On a street circuit, are there so many critical areas?
LD: Big differences under braking, and you have to be even more patient with the throttle under acceleration because exit understeer is a characteristic of this car. Always watching the mirrors for faster cars since the track is not that long, and staying focused on my own position and competitors.
ec: Your talent has brought you to a number of good teams, such as with Chip Ganassi, over your career. You set records with Adrian Fernandez and the Lowe's team. Now you're with Alex Job Racing, also a top team with a history of results. Having this support has to make the transition to GT easier.
LD: Alex is great to work with. I respect him a lot and I'm trying to learn as much as I can from him. I'm also very fortunate to be part of this team and to share the car with another great driver like Ricardo Gonzalez, who I've known for years. That helps with the transition, yes.
ec: When you signed with Fernandez to drive the Acura in LMP2, the launch was held in Los Angeles on Olvera Street. It was a clever move to bring more fans into the sport for the team and sponsors. Can you make this work with a Porsche and your main sponsor for additional coverage in your home market?
LD: I would love to do that, but it's more up to them. I'm not sure yet if they are interested in the Latino market or not, but I will be happy to help. The team was part of a street display at Long Beach that went well. About my sponsors IDN, they are new in the sport so we are trying to make them as happy as we can in hopes that they can become bigger in the future.
ec: What do you see Luis Diaz doing in ten years' time-team owner and driver? You were with one of the best with Fernandez as far as the learning curve goes.
LD: Yes, racing with Scott Pruett and then Adrian in the past, and look how competitive they still are. I'd love to keep racing after 40, but this sport is very cruel and I know how fortunate I am to be racing this year, so I'll go year by year. Then we will see.