The competition throughout the Mazda Road to Indy has been brutal this year, and Roman Lagudi would likely attest to that fact. In his second year of USF2000, the Australian-born 17 year-old has brought Belardi Auto Racing home four podiums, and looks to do more when that series returns to the track in just a few weeks. Lagudi remains solidly third in the USF2000 standings, and recently chatted with INDYCAR Nation about his season and plans.
Thanks for your time, Roman. First off, how would you grade your season so far?
RL: I would say, so far, A- because we still haven't managed a win yet… we are definitely getting closer!
How's the racing been this year for USF2000?
RL: The racing this year in the USF2000 series has been great. It is so competitive and it makes you bring your “A” game every time you come to the track.
If you could change one thing about USF2000 or the Mazda Road to Indy right now, what would it be?
RL: I don't know that I would want to change a thing. The Mazda Road to Indy is such a great ladder program, and it gives you a clear path to the IZOD IndyCar Series.
This has been a year in which it seems like Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing has been the class of the field more often than not. You've been one of the few drivers capable of mixing it up with their guys on a regular basis. What makes them such tough competition?
RL: Cape Motorsports definitely has been the team to beat. They have three great drivers and are made up of guys who have been in this business for a long time. They know a lot about these cars and know what setups to put on the car to be fast. Belardi Auto Racing is a fairly new team to the series, but we are learning quickly.
Along that line, which of your fellow competitors would you say people will be hearing about several years from now?
RL: I think we will definitely be hearing about Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham in the future. They both have a lot of talent and are going to go very far in their careers.
How involved is your family in your racing?
RL: My family is definitely involved in my racing. My dad is always at my races and has helped me get to where I am today.
Do you have a plan for how you'd like the next few years of your open wheel career to go?
RL: I have a few plans on how I would like to see my open wheel career go in the future, but nothing is set yet so we will have to see what happens.
Do you have a favorite racing memory?
RL: One of my favorite racing memories was getting my first podium in the USF2000 series in Baltimore last year. I was so happy and to get a podium in front of that many people was really cool.
Do you have a favorite number to race under, and if so, why?
RL: In go karts I always had the number 13 but now I don't really mind what number I have as long as I'm racing.
If you had to win a race on a single track, which one would you pick to go for?
RL: If I won the Night Before the 500 in Indy that would be pretty cool. The cool thing about winning that race is that the next day the winner is presented in front of the 400,000 fans at the Indy 500.
What's your dream car (off the track)?
RL: My dream car off the track would probably be the new McLaren mp4-12c. It is one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
How do you unwind away from the track?
RL: I like to work out a lot and go cycling. I also love being home with my family and spending time with them because I'm always traveling and it’s nice to catch up with them.
Which Mazda Road to Indy/INDYCAR drivers are your favorites?
RL: My favorite IndyCar driver is Will Power. He is from Australia just like me and I think he is the best driver in IndyCar today.
Photos courtesy of Hendrick Sports Photo