ashley asks....

ASHLEY ASKS…… Kiko Porto

By: Ashley McCubbin

Kiko Porto showed speed in his rookie USF Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires campaign, as evident by placing seventh in the standings with a win at the Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course. He will return to the series in 2023 with DEForce Racing, and shared his thoughts recently with NEWS FROM THE PITS.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming 2023 Indy Pro 2000 season?

So we are having some good practice now. So I felt the car was pretty good. We still have more practice before the beginning of the season so I’m pretty confident. I think we can have a good season to show some potential.

What are your goals for the upcoming season?

So definitely win the championship is the main goal, but I think also learn. I’m not in the last step of the Road to Indy, so I think learn is always a key to get better. But I think the main goal is definitely to win the championship. That’s the thing that we have been working on since last year.

What track are you most excited to get to?

Well, this is a not easy question, but I would say for the first race at St. Pete. I love the street courses.

Awesome. You had a great season last year, obviously coming close for the championship. But what do you feel that you and the team could’ve done better?

So I think the problem is last season, we found a lot of mistakes through the season and it took so long to fix it. So I think if we can figure out what is going wrong to fix faster and to come back for the next race better. I think that’s what we learned last year and hope to apply it to this season.

Obviously one of the big highlights was getting the first win at Mid-Ohio. What did it mean to knock that accomplishment off your list?

A lot of things was going on with the team, but we figured out some problems through Mid-Ohio and they didn’t show up. Obviously in the first practice, I already felt the car different and really knew what direction we needed to go. Definitely the victory in Mid-Ohio gave us a good feeling, and mostly with the team in working hard at the beginning of the season.

What would it mean to you if you were able to run the IndyCar Series one day?

Wow. This means a lot. It’s not simple explain but IndyCar has been my goal since I was a kid. I think everything when I look back and I did before, it’s like okay, we’re in the process and getting there. We’ve had difficult days and we’re still here fighting for what we want – not just me, but my family, my team, the people that support me. So to be an IndyCar driver one day, I don’t have words to describe – but just to imagine, it’s crazy but awesome at the same time.

Is there anything outside of open-wheel that you’d love to get behind the wheel of?

Definitely GT3 looks awesome. Obviously slower into the corners, but the amount of power they have and how fast they go on the straights. I never tried GT3 before, but I’d like to try one day as it looks awesome.

What would be one piece of advice for those getting started?

So first, it’s not going to be easy. The process is not easy. You’re going to lose way more than you’re going to win, so you need to understand this and not just get pissed, but understand and see what direction you need to get better and fix. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have days where you’re going to feel like, “Okay, I don’t have any more energy to do this,” but once you get a victory, you get a championship, everything looks easy even though it was very hard. One piece of advice is keep chasing your dreams, keep working, and one thing that my first coach in karting taught me is a lot of guys have talent, but if you have talent and work more than anyone, you will have the better chance to get there. So it’s working hard is the key.

Who do you consider your racing hero?

Well, I have like different areas of heroes. So I would Ayrton Senna is a guy that really admire. Not just how fast he was, but how hard he worked, the effort he put, to be in the top and best level possible. I think it’s one of beautiful history that Senna told us and explained to us. But also a guy that I love and admire is Scott Dixon. He’s not the youngest guy in the grid, but he’s still showing a lot of speed and commitment. Scott showed that you have the hard work and always motivate yourself even with a lot of championships, you can reach the top level. I think those two guys show for me a lot of important things that I would and want to use during my career.

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