PATRICIO O’WARD: AN ADVENTURE IN MOTION WITH NO. 31
Text: Lilia Davis and Marcela Masso
Photos: Courtesy of Circuit of the Americas and Oliver Davis
Patricio O ‘Ward, is a Mexican driver, from Monterrey who has not only captured the attention by being one of the youngest drivers in these races, but already has a series of prizes accumulated during his short but meteoric adventure in the car races. To start, he has just won the 2018 Indy Lights Championship, he has won the prototype challenge class championship with seven victories in eight races including the Rolex 24 at Daytona, he has won second place in the first four Indy Light presented by Cooper tires, finished the season with 9 wins, 13 places podium and set a new record of place positions in a single season with nine positions,. This has been a great achievement, considering that the last record had not been broken since 1993. Not bad for a young man from Monterrey. México.
La Revista Mujer literally its own exposure to high speed racing with an event at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, to learn about professional car races in a more direct way and to introduce two Hispanic people in this hypnotic and perilous sport in the city of Austin. The Mexican-Monterrey driver, or pilot as we would refer to a race driver in México, Patricio O’Ward, (Pato O’ward) who is participating for the first time in this event 2019 NTT Indycar Series, and Silvia Bellot, from Spain, a member of his racing team and one of the first women commissioners in the Formula 1 racing.
Being this our first visit as a journalists to the Circuit of the Americas, I could not help but feel the vibration of the start of the engines with their great power in front of me on the track. The roar of the engines envelops you from head to toe, you feel an adrenaline that, provides an illusion that even as a simple spectator, you are going to compete too. We had the pleasure of interviewing Patricio (Pato) in the facilities of the Circuit of the Americas, during his practice runs preparing for the race of March 23, 2019 and the conversation went as follows:
Hello Patricio, how did your passion for being a race car driver come about?
My passion for racing comes from my maternal grandfather in Monterrey. He is the one who welcomed me in this sport, he is a car fanatic and he gave me my first Go-Kart, when I was only three years old. Obviously I could not handle it at the time, at age 3 because I could barely reach the pedals, but by age 6, I could see on the steering wheel and I could do it. So we went to the Go-Karts tracks built along the historic Rio Santa Catarina in Monterrey – famous for its floodings but the city designed these tracks during its long dry periods in Monterrey, that’s how I began.
Tell us briefly how you got from there to where you are now?
From there I started to climb the 2013-2014 GoKarts cars and started competing in Europe, and later in the United States. I won the most important races that any driver could count on competing in his career. I continued with the Indy Lights and now I am in the Indy Classic Series with Carlin Racing from England, who just finished hiring me to drive 13 races in 2019.
Do you come from Mexico to each race?
No, a few years ago I came to study at the Texas Military School in San Antonio, a discipline that has helped me a lot in this sport, and now I have a residency here. That’s why I consider COTA – Circuit of the Americas, to be my home track.
Being one of the youngest drivers in this profession, what gives you the confidence to compete with others who have years more of experience?
We are all professionals, we can all do one thing as well as the other, and do the same things. I don’t feel intimidated. I’m with a team that knows how to win. I also prepare mentally and I simply relax before each race. The No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet ended up in the top five in today’s practice, and it’s good to know we have the pace and we can compete against the veteran drivers.
Why do you think there are only a few female drivers competing in these circuits?
I think that from my point of view or, from my perspective, these careers are perceived as a very masculine sport. Very masculine by tradition and, for the physical effort involved in driving these cars. However I think that women could also win as well as men.
There had not been a new record of pole positions in a season with nine positions since 1993. For women who are learning this language, what is a pole position?
It is a qualification system of the cars that are carried out one day before the race to organize their place (grid) within the competition. For example The first round of qualification is 18 minutes with 22 cars in the circuit. The 6 most slow are eliminated, and thus the other positions are filled.
In short, it means that the driver who sets the fastest qualifying time one day before the race, is in the pole position and that means that the driver will start from the first position in the race the next day.
What is your greatest goal?
My greatest hope is of course to go to Formula 1 – 500 miles from Indianapolis, the biggest race in the world and win! But for now I’m focusing on Indycar Series. And keep winning .
What does it mean for you to be Mexican and to be successful in this sport?
Well, I have a lot of respect for my country, and I’m proud to be Mexican. I always display or wear the Mexican flag, or a charro hat when they give me a prize. In fact, my racing car No. 31 has the colors green, white and red, the colors of the Mexican flag. And I also hope that other Mexicans will be encouraged to engage with this fascinating sport, but it is important to remind them, as in everything that you are passionate about, to never give up. Never.
At the end of the practices we saw that Patricio was heading to a table to talk with the engineers of his car racing team. They consulted the results and they looked happy. We are proud and confident that Patricio will continue his adventure in movement with No. 31 successfully in the rest of the races this year.
About the Circuit of the Americas
Patricio O’Ward competition on March 24, 2019, was the very first NTT IndyCar Series race held on The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track (and his very first) making history once again.
Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, is the only Grand Prix facility designed especially for the United States designed for all racing classes. The 3.4-mile circuit hosts the most prestigious sporting events in the world, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix of the United States, the Red Bull of the Americas Grand Prix, the INDYCAR Classic among others.
The original design of the circuit was designed by Tavo Hellmund, the initiator of the project, assisted by the German architect Hermann Tilke (5,515 meters, with 20 laps in the colors of the American flag).
COTA also hosts world-renowned concerts, music festivals and has opportunities to rent tracks. The 1,500-acre campus also features the award-winning Austin360 amphitheater, driving experiences that include COTA Karting, Formula America with open wheels and Audi Driving Experience.
Its iconic 25-story Observation Tower offers 360-degree views of the circuit, amphitheater and downtown Austin, designed and built by the Austin-based firm Miró Rivera Architects. Juan Miró from Barcelona and Miguel Rivera from Puerto Rico. Providing a palpable Hispanic presence The Circuit of the Americas was named by ArchDaily as one of the 100 most important architectural works in the nation.
Follow Patricio (Pato) O’Ward at:
Facebook: Patricio OWard
@IndyCar Series Driver