I’d love to fight for victories more regularly, says Nik Štefančič before his second season

I’d love to fight for victories more regularly, says Nik Štefančič before his second season

Slovenian racer Nik Štefančič is preparing for his second season in the Clio Cup. The young graduate from karting and the Twingo Cup gained important experience in last year’s debut and is ready to fight for victories.

Reflecting on your first season in the Clio Cup, what were some of the key lessons you learned?
Don’t do anything stupid heading into turn 1, given what happened in Race 1 at Most. No, but seriously, our goal for the first year was to learn and gain experience with the car. I think we proved that with the victory in the last race of the season at Brno, and it was a great segue to 2024.

How has the experience in the Clio Cup met your expectations?
Very positively, actually. I expected it to be less challenging, and the opponents weren’t so kind to me, giving me a hard time on the track!

What has been your biggest challenge in the Clio Cup so far, and how have you overcome it?
Obviously, it was a big challenge going from driving Twingos and karts to a front-wheel drive Clio. So, trying to manage the front tires from overheating was definitely the hardest part to get used to.

In terms of performance, what improvements or changes are you focusing on for your second season?
Nothing much, actually. I think the pace will come by itself just from the fact I’m more familiar with the car and I know how it will react if I drive it in a certain way.

The Clio Cup cars are known for their competitiveness and equality in terms of performance. How do you think you can gain an edge over your competitors in such a closely matched field?
I think you can gain an advantage with experience and mileage, especially as some of the drivers in the Clio Cup have proven over the years. For me, personally, I need at least 1 to 2 years to get comfortable in any new series or category, but this comes with more and more time on track.

How do you prepare mentally and physically for a race?
Physically, nothing special. I go for a run every so often and visit the gym regularly. Mentally, it’s a different story. Usually, during the winter, I take my mind completely off racing and focus on other things in my life. When it comes to the race weekend, let’s say around 20 minutes before the race, I move away from everything, put some music on, and try to relax for a bit before sitting in the car.

With one season under your belt, what are your goals for your second season in the Clio Cup?
I’d love to fight for victories more regularly than last year; that’s the main goal. And if I can keep the consistency I had for a couple of years now, who knows, maybe we’ll be in the fight for the title as well.