He left behind him a promising single seater career for a chance to get on the career ladder in GT racing. For Raúl Guzmán, the switch is one which has been popular among his peers as the allure of reaching Factory Driver status with one of the world’s most prominent brands become ever more realistic.
While Guzmán is not a Factory Driver just yet, he will be playing an important role with Lamborghini Squadra Corse throughout the 2021 season as he continues his progression.
Guzmán’s career started like so many others, in karting at a young age before making the step up to cars in the Italian F4 championship.
From there, he made it into FIA Formula 3 but elected to move across into the GT world through the one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe championship where he made an immediate impact.
“I immediately felt good with the car, with [Target Racing team-mate] Milos Pavlovic and with the team,” Guzmán says.
“We won on our debut [at Misano Adriatico], and then taking third place in race two. The second part of the season was an uphill struggle, with some things that were not in our power to control.
“In Barcelona we had a technical problem, then in race two at Spa there was the accident with Cecotto and Gilardoni that caused me a tibia injury. I managed to be present at Paul Ricard, but I was not at my best. But, as a first season, the result was satisfactory.”
While his spectacular crash in the second race at Spa-Francorchamps was the highest-profile incident of Guzmán’s 20202 season, the Mexican doesn’t want to dwell on this and is already focused on the new year ahead of him.
“My number one goal is to become a Lamborghini Factory Driver in two or three years,” Guzmán adds. “For 2021 I want to fight to win the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe and hopefully make it back to Europe.”
Guzmán has followed many other single seater drivers into GT racing at a time where the latter category is blossoming exponentially. And while racing drivers share a lot of similar traits and experiences, Guzmán says that the switch to GTs was not so much a question of being easy or difficult, but a ‘totally different experience’.
“You have to change your driving style; you can be more aggressive and there are more electronic driving aids than in formula racing,” he says.
“On top of that, the GTs, with their greater ground clearance, allow you to go to all the kerbs. With the higher weight, the tyre management also changes completely. I haven't had any particular problems switching to open-wheel cars, but you need a period of adaptation as the differences are marked.”
One figurehead of Lamborghini Squadra Corse has helped Guzmán find his feet in GTs during the past 12 months. His Super Trofeo team-mate Pavlović.
“Miloš helped me a lot with his experience in the GT world,” Guzmán explains. “He taught me some fundamental things, like the driver change. These are details that make the difference in a race. I also learnt a lot about managing the car, which is different to formula racing.”
“Here you have to think that you also have a partner to whom you have to deliver the car in the best possible condition. In the open-wheel world the team-mate is the first adversary, here instead the teamwork makes both improve. I got on very well with Milos and we became friends off the track too.”
Like many of his Super Trofeo contemporaries, Guzmán joined the Lamborghini Youngster Program in 2020, and immediately reaped the benefits of the world-leading facilities at the Lamborghini Drivers Lab in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
“There are several aspects that influence the growth of young drivers [within the program],” says Guzmán.
“One of them is the reports after each session, which allow us to improve the feedback we give to the team and increase our ability to self-evaluate performance. In addition to this, the physical test days help us to improve our athletic performance, as we evaluate our strengths and areas of training. I've got on very well with Lamborghini on all levels.”
“They think of everything, not only as a driver but also as an individual, putting you at ease. I think the Lamborghini Young Driver Program is a very good development program for young drivers.”