Eureka Urrutia! The chosen one reveals his life story on WTCR Fast Talk presented by Goodyear
Recently revealed to the world as Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s exciting new recruit for on-track glory in 2020, 23-year-old young gun Santiago Urrutia tells his story on WTCR Fast Talk presented by Goodyear, the podcast series from Eurosport Events.
In his first major English-language interview since being chosen to fill some mighty big World Touring Car shoes as category legend Andy Priaulx’s replacement, Urrutia catches up with Martin Haven, the voice of WTCR, to give fans an insight into his life, how his road to the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup began back in his native Uruguay and why he got “super-mad” with Max Verstappen.
“My Grandad give to us a little motorcycle,” Urrutia tells WTCR Fast Talk presented by Goodyear. “At the time I was only three years old, like a baby, but I started just riding the bike around the [family] farm. At one point my Dad said, ‘do you want to race?’ and I start racing when I was three. If you think about it, they were a little bit crazy, but I started racing motocross until I had a big crash and my Mum said, ‘Santi, this is enough, if you want to keep racing I want to give you a go-kart’. So, she took a credit from the bank, because it was a really bad year in Uruguay and my Mum is just a school teacher. But she give me the go-kart and I start racing when I was five.”
The youngest of two children − his sister is four years older and has recently qualified as a doctor – ‘Santi’ was born in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo but grew up on the family farm in Miguelete, a small town one hour and 40 minutes away.
“There was [no family history] in racing but the passion comes from the tractors on the farm and my Grandad used to wake up early to watch Formula One. But the sport that is big in Uruguay is soccer. We are super-good in soccer and we have really good plyers around the world. But in motorsport there is not a big history of success in Uruguay.”
Following success racing karts in his homeland, Urrutia broadened his horizons and ultimately ended up competing in the CIK-FIA World Cup in Braga, Portugal in 2010, the catalyst to a racing career.
“We started racing for fun but everything was going better and better,” Urrutia tells WTCR Fast Talk presented by Goodyear. “I started racing in Argentina and then Brazil and, boom, from one year to another one I was in Europe. It was crazy but it was not a game anymore.”
He continues: “I had the chance to do the World Cup in Portugal, the first time I flew to Europe. There was Alex Albon, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Occon and I did pretty cool. I was running third in the pre-final, Max was leading the race, second was Alex Albon and we crashed with each other. At the time I couldn’t speak English but I was super-mad with Max Verstappen and I talked to him in Spanish.
“My team-mate was Alex Albon who was already a Red Bull driver. I impressed the team and they said, ‘we want to have you next year’, which was 2011. But, at the time, I was only 14. I look at my Dad and I say, ‘I want to race, I want to do it professional, in the proper way, but my Dad said, ‘you are only 14 so I have to talk with your Mum and we have to see how we can deal with this’. They make the decision to let me go and I go to live in Europe when I was only 14. I was working in the factory to pay my bills and I was racing go-karts. I left my house when I was 14 to follow my dream.”
Santiago Urrutia’s WTCR Fast Talk podcast presented by Goodyear, the WTCR’s official tyre supplier, is hosted by Martin Haven and available in two parts at FIAWTCR.com and other outlets. Part one lands at 12h00 CET today (29 July). Part two follows at 12h00 CET on 31 July when Urrutia talks about his career lift-off in the USA and how he topped the recent shootout to earn a drive in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup with Cyan Performance Lynk & Co. Click here to listen or follow this link:https://www.fiawtcr.com/wtcr-fast-talk/