Fast Five with Simon Pagenaud

I had the highest privilege of doing a quick interview with Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Simon Pagenaud! Background on Simon, he has had a very successful career. The 27 year old Frenchman won the ALMS title with the LMP1 class in 2010. He also won the Atlantic Championship in 2006. He made it into Champ Car, Simon had some great success, recording six top-five finishes and going on to finish 8th in the championship. This showed he had the talent to make it in the open wheel series. Simon made his Indycar debut in 2011, finishing eighth at Barber, thirteenth at Mid Ohio, and fifteenth at Sonoma. He had some very solid runs and is primed for a great season. And you'll find his answers as short, sweet, and to the point! That is the way I like it! So here we go:

1) Describe the emotions that you felt on the day that it was officially announced that you would be running full time in 2012 with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

SP: I felt very blessed! It was the accomplishment of one of my kids dream! So i was absolutely delighted!

Simon being officially introduced as the SSM driver

2) What are your goals for the 2012 IZOD Indycar season? 

SP: 1st as a team we need to get the car in a happy place, then we will set our goals!

3) Do you have an all-time favorite track?

SP: Yes Long beach! It was my 1st race in America, scored a pole and was P3 on my 1st champ Car attempt there in qualy, then won twice in sportscar! I love the place, and have had very good times on the racetrack. I love its rhythm: full attack mode!

4) Which driver(s) who currently runs in the the IZOD Indycar Series do you have the most respect for on and off the track?

SP: Will Power! We were team mate in champ Car in 2007! He gets it!

Power and Pagenaud together in 2007 in the Champ Car Series

5) Kind of becoming the one trademark question in the Fast Five segment, and it produces some great answers! Have you ever coughed, sneezed, sighed, or any other obscurely odd thing while driving in a race?
SP: No, It"s amazing at what level of concentration you can get as a driver!

I hope Simon and the whole SSM team a safe and happy 2012 season! Thanks for your time Simon!!

-Matthew Hickey