Interview: Roland Linder on the F40LM | FerrariChat

Interview: Roland Linder on the F40LM

Discussion in '288GTO/F40/F50/Enzo/LaFerrari/SP3' started by richard, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. richard

    richard Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    Richard Thompson III
    Please see the intro to this thread if you're wondering how this came about.

    This interview features Roland Linder, owner and driver of the infamous F40LM featured on various auto sites and in the Player's Run.

    As many of you know Roland is also an active member of this site, so first allow me to say thanks to him for giving me his time! It was an honor and a pleasure to be able to speak at length with someone so highly practiced in the sport we all love.

    Secondly, Roland's accent got the better of me a couple of times in regards to numbers -- especially when I asked the question about mileage. So...Roland, if I made any grave errors in regards to your car please feel free to correct me! I don't want to be responsible to disseminating incorrect information about your car!

    Richard: If you could just tell us a little bit about your career in car racing…

    Roland: Well, I started with motorcycle racing in Belgium and did pretty successfully there, and I was a mechanic for Porsche…

    Richard: What sort of cars did you work on at Porsche?

    Roland: Well there was there was the 911 in those days, in 1967, and then I won with them in LeMans in ’68. We won in ’68, we won in ’69. So that opened the doors, and I stayed in that field for the rest of my life…in the late 70’s – well, in the mid 70’s I quite with motorcycles entirely, and came to America and did some racing stuff here in California for about eight years, I helped some young guys manage cars, shared my knowledge, and then went to Colorado after my neck injury and changed my lifestyle so to speak. It took me a few years and I was in a wheelchair, but luckily I got out of it and went back to Porsche to teach and got offered to drive again, and started winning, and kept winning. So there’s still room for the old guys.

    Richard: Definitely!

    Roland: So I always wanted a Ferrari, and that’s what got me into it.

    Richard: What Ferrari did you start with?

    Roland: Well, I started with a Testarossa.

    Richard: 512?

    Roland: No, the model before…just a regular Testarossa. I took it on the track and definitely noticed that the majority of the time it was not a track car. So I had to find something more, you know, matching my desires.

    Richard: And this is it? [points to F40LM]

    Roland: Yeah, it is. I became and instructor for the Ferrari club, and I had a tremendous opportunity to drive the whole spectrum of Ferrari cars, I drove quite a few. I drove the F40 on many tracks across the United States, and I knew this was the car I wanted! I just didn’t like the chassis, brakes, or the suspension. The motor was fabulous! The only way for me to get around that was to build my own LM, because you couldn’t buy an LM – it would be too expensive.

    Richard: Tell me about the car...

    Roland: So this was a burned car. I needed a chassis – a donor. I didn’t want to use one that cost upwards of 200,000 dollars, so I needed a wrecked one. So this one here was burned. So we needed a chassis to do all the modification like Michelotto did on the original LM cars. So we got a blueprint, and did a copy of what they did on the LM with today’s technology. So you know suspension and brakes are way better in 2000 than they were in 1990 when the car was being sold. But we largely kept the original car, you know…the engine, transmission, just didn’t use the same intercooler, etc. because again today’s technology is just way more advanced. But we ended up with a car that is extremely reliable, it’s sort of a dream car, it’s pretty marginal…but you know, I can drive it on the street.

    Richard: How easy is it to drive on the street?

    Roland: I wouldn’t say it’s easy. You have to watch out for every bump, of course, because of the suspension, there’s no hard bushings, the engine is rigid to give us rigid handling. So all this rigidness makes it a bit uncomfortable. But on the freeway it’s alright. We raise the ride height a bit to make it more acceptable and fit it with street tires, but it’s not bad at all…[laughs] it sure gives a crazy look!

    Richard: Yeah, it definitely does.

    Roland: We create a riot on the freeway!

    Richard: Yeah, I noticed yesterday on the way back that you’re running a bit rich…I saw some flame shooting out your exhaust pipes.

    Roland: Yeah people love to see the flames coming out when I drive by them and accelerate. It’s pretty radical. Very hot, very noisy, and definitely uncomfortable. We modified the front end quite a bit regarding the air flow under and inside the car…but it’s still a thoroughbred…it’s a race car. As you saw yesterday, that’s where I can express it best, on the race track. And it has been EXTREMELY reliable, you know, we take the car to every race, it’s been really enjoyable.

    Richard: How many miles does it have on it?

    Roland: I must have about 12,000 miles on it. We really got the car rolling in October of last year, and that was the first time, and I spent six hours on the track without any problems. We do a lot of prevention stuff, but we are very far into the project and you know, race cars are never, ever done…there’s always some modification. But there is no pressure because the car runs so well, so I can really take my time and go step by step by step. And we will see how long we’re gonna keep it this way!

    Richard: Now you were really keeping up with the 333 at the track yesterday.

    Roland: I was surprised! They have much better acceleration because they are lighter, but I was surprised I was able to stick to them…they have got a lot more than me, but of course this is a pretty tight track…this twin-turbo pulls okay. If it had been on a fast track the 333 would have won easily. But you know, that didn’t amaze me the most. The most amazing was the Enzo! It really stayed close. It wasn’t really far away, I could see him under the wing…

    Richard: Well, I was in Dan’s Enzo for the second half of the session, and I have to say that thing really moves along.

    Roland: Very impressive, very impressive. For a street car? A stock car? I was really amazed that it went along that well.

    Roland: As for my car, that’s about it. The rest is just racing and exhibition. People enjoy seeing it, and I definitely enjoy driving it.

    Richard: Whereas with the 333s you have to rebuild and replace and do a lot of maintenance, you must be very proud to own a car that can not only compete, but is streetable and much more reliable.

    Roland: It is, and you know…the more you drive them, the better it gets. I don’t drive the whole way to the rev limiter, I’m pretty cautious about that, so I usually shift about 7500…

    Richard: What’s the redline then?

    Roland: I think it’s 8700…so I’m really milking it for the most part…when I need to push it I shift at 8000, but I enjoy the extra longevity and I am hoping for 80,000 miles. They just need maintenance, and to be driven. That’s it.

    Richard: You guys are damned lucky to be able to drive these cars up to high mileage.

    Roland: Yeah well, 40,000 miles you know, I just think these cars, Ferrari cars, they need to be driven! I’m very fortunate. I had the chance to do it, I was able physically to do it after my injury…I enjoy the cars very much.

    Richard: Well, thanks a lot!

    Roland: My pleasure. You take care.

    Again, I hope this provides useful information! Cheers,
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  3. 96impalaSS

    96impalaSS F1 Rookie

    Dec 8, 2003
    Full Name:
    once again Richard thank you for the interview.
  4. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    Richard, awesome interview... Roland is the man...!
  5. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner Social Subscribed

    Dec 1, 2000
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    Great interview. Thanks!
  6. joeyy

    joeyy Karting

    Nov 11, 2003
    long island
    Full Name:
    great read!! this person is truly dedicated to his passion.
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  8. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    Excellent job Richard. I was amazed watching Roland drive that car all day at that track in the heat. I was in shorts walking around sweating my butt off and there he was in the cockpit wearing a full race suit all day. However I would have switched places in a minute.
    I was standing by Rolands car taking some picturesright after he got back from a few hot laps when I looked down and noticed antifreeze dripping out the back of the car. All I could think of was how expensive it would be to fix a car like that but when Roland walked up he casually claimed that it was just the overflow and it did that sometimes. I thought for sure his track day was over with but a few minutes later he was back out on the track doing high speed power slides scaring the crap out of DES/Carbon/whatever his name is:).
    That car is already a legend in the land of Ferrari's and I am glad I got to watch it that day. I hope to see you next year Roland. It was a blast. If I may ask though how did you injure yourself to the point of a wheelchair. I'll take one guess and say it was car related.
  9. F1racer

    F1racer F1 Rookie

    Oct 5, 2003
    Full Name:
    Thanks for this well done interview!
  10. F40

    F40 F1 Rookie

    Apr 16, 2003
    Nice... Would that be Dan Kennedy's Enzo your talking about?
  11. richard

    richard Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    Richard Thompson III
    Nope...see the other thread for the interview with the owner of the Enzo.

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  13. Bmyth-FDC

    Bmyth-FDC F1 Rookie

    Oct 4, 2002
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    Thank you for sharing that interview!

    I've had the pleasure of driving alongside the F40LM on the road as well as sit inside the passenger seat (briefly). Roland is an amazing guy and a great driver. He really does drive his car! You should have heard it while it blazed up the 101 freeway and through the back roads of Ojai, CA!! :) Simply music to the ears...

    The story of the F40 "LM" is a great one... it's nice to see someone bringing an F40 back to life and back on the roads!!

  14. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    well done, I enjoyed meeting roland last year in Cali and Las vegas


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