Though he may be only 23 years old, this Arrigorriaga native knows how to drive a touring car quickly. Last year, he was crowned TCR Europe champion on his first attempt. Since 2015, he’s won at least one race in every series in which he’s competed, and finished in the top three of every championship he’s competed in bar one. And this year, in his debut WTCR season, Mikel Azcona is already a race winner.
Be warned though, his ‘strangest moment’ might make you queasy…
“My name is Mikel Azcona.”
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
“No need to lie, I am 23 years old”
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“My first race in a touring car was when I was 15 years old, in 2012, at Navarra. And it was in a Renault Clio in the Spanish Endurance Championship.”
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
“That was in 2016, the last race weekend of the 2016 SEAT León Eurocup. I was battling for the championship with Niels Langeveld and my mother was in the hospital in Barcelona. She was very ill and…I’m not sure how you say it in English, a coma? So my head just wasn’t into that race, I couldn’t concentrate and I started P9 but finished P4. The next day I won the race, and that day my mother woke up! It was a really amazing weekend!”
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“One if my favourite circuits is Spa-Francorchamps. The [TCR SPA 500] was only my second time at Spa, and my first time here, with TCR Europe last year, I finished 3rd on my first attempt.
“I like the Nordschleife, but I really love Spa. It’s a long track, it’s very fast, you go up, you go down, it’s very technical… you just need two big balls to go really fast on this track!”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
“There was one race in Portimão. It was raining and I started to feel sick, but I started the race. After one hour, I was feeling really bad, hot and cold at the same time. I said to the team, ‘I have to pit, I don’t feel good.’ ‘No no, one more lap, the driver is not ready.’ Okay, so I continue. The next lap…[Mikel opens his mouth and imitates vomiting].
“It was everywhere! My helmet, my gloves, the steering wheel, the seat…it was so disgusting and that ended my race. That was strange and the worst moment of my motor sport career.”
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“My helmet design is special because there are three initials: on the right, I have ‘M’, on the left, ‘A’, and on the back, there’s a ‘T’. Mikel Azcona Troyas. There are also some gears in the design because I like the mechanical side of cars and motorsport. That represents my passion.”
What is your greatest strength?
“On a race weekend, my greatest strength is to be really, really fast, really early. From the first moment I [take to] the track, I am quick. Especially qualifying. I love qualifying.
“This year, with the WTCR, I went to a new track in China [the Ningbo International Circuit]. I’d never been there, but in two laps, I was one of the fastest drivers, and I finished P3 in the first race.”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“I don’t like a lot of movies, but I think Antonio Banderas. He’s a star of Spain!”
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I am racing in the World Touring Car Cup this year, so one of my goals is to win the title. I’ve already won TCR Europe, so the next step is a World Championship. And for the future, one of my dreams is win the Le Mans 24 Hours. I love to win!”
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“I started driving touring cars when I was 15. Then three years later, I took my driving licence for the road. I failed the exam four times, but finally did it on the fifth!
“I also have a truck driving licence, so Anti [Burri] will be pleased!”
What was it about driving at the TCR SPA 500 that interested you?
“I’ve been driving TCR cars since 2015, and this race is the first 24-hour race with just TCR cars. So it’s really interesting to be at the first-ever race like this, knowing the TCR car really well, and trying to win. If you win this race, you will always be the first [in the history books]. That must be a really special feeling."