(Adds testimony from ex-CEO)
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Former Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick's famously competitive nature was the focus of questioning on Wednesday in a trade-secrets trial in which Uber Technologies Inc is accused of stealing self-driving car designs from rival Waymo.
The jury's decision in the trial could influence one of the most important and potentially lucrative races in Silicon Valley, to create fleets of self-driving cars.
It was Kalanick's second day of testimony and the ex-CEO again appeared subdued in his short responses to questions by Waymo's lawyers. In many cases, Kalanick said he could not recall specific conversations.
In the lawsuit, Waymo, Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit, said former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential documents in December 2015 before Kalanick hired him at Uber in 2016. Levandowski is not a defendant in the case. Waymo has estimated damages in the case at about $1.9 billion, which Uber rejects.
Kalanick has said he saw developing self-driving cars as existential to Uber. In court Wednesday, Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven showed Kalanick a text from Levandowski in which Levandowski told Kalanick: "I just see this as a race and we need to win. Second place is first loser."
When asked if he agreed with that sentiment, Kalanick said: "Well, I first heard it from my high school football coach, but yes."
Waymo also played for the jury a video of the "Greed is Good" speech in the movie Wall Street, which Levandowski had sent to Kalanick along with the emoticon of a winking face.
Waymo alleges Levandowski downloaded the confidential files a month before leaving to start self-driving truck company Otto, which was quickly acquired by Uber, putting Levandowski in charge of Uber's autonomous car division.
On Tuesday, Kalanick testified that he was a "big fan" of Levandowski, and began negotiations with the engineer in 2015 to try to hire him, frustrated by the slow pace of Uber's own self-driving program.
These discussions happened before Otto was even formed, and Kalanick said he saw buying Otto as a way to hire Levandowski. As part of the deal, Uber decided to indemnify Levandowski against any legal action, Kalanick said.
On Wednesday, Kalanick was shown in court an email from another executive, which said the "X factor" of acquiring Levandowski's company was the "IP in their heads."
Kalanick said he did not remember the email but did not deny reading it. (Reporting by Dan Levine. Writing by Heather Somerville; Editing by Grant McCool and Susan Thomas)