Quick 10 With…..Taki Inoue

(c) Shamil Tanna

Born in Kobe, Japan in 1963 he began his racing career in 1988 in the British Formula Ford Championship before moving to the All-Japan F3 Championship from 1989-1993 and then International Formula 3000 in 1994.

It was in 1995 that he moved to Formula 1, culminating in 18 entries for both Simtek and Footwork. He was involved in two very bizarre incidents. One involved his car being taken back to the pits on a recovery truck when it was hit by another car. The other was in Hungary when he was trying to assist marshals put out a fire and was struck by the medial car, which injured his leg. This was seen live on television.

He made his F1 debut at the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix, his last race was the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. He did talk with Minardi and Tyrrell for a drive the following season, but this did not come to fruition.

He made a short foray into sportscar racing, but recently he is best known for his opinions and funny comments on social media.

These are his Quick 10 and this is Taki Inoue……..

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

None of them are my favorite circuit in the world. The reason why I don’t have any for my favourite circuit is basically, they are too dangerous.

2. Who is/was your racing idol?

Gerhard Berger and Riccardo Patrese.

(c) Reuters

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

All team mates, apparently.

4. Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Alonso and Vandoorne.

Taki Inoue, Footwork-Hart FA16 , Barcelona, Spain, 1995. (Photo by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch/Getty Images) curtsey of redbull.com

 

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Ron Dennis and Monsour Ojjeh (that’s two, but we gave Taki creative licence here).

6. Personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

No.4 because No.5 is too famous number for me to use. That’s why, it is one number before 5.

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

1995 Monza, right??

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in, that you would like to or had wanted to?

Le Mans 24 hours.

9. How did you get into motor racing? What ignited that spark?

The photo of John Surtees 1967.

10. What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Money talks, Bulls*** walks.

I really want to thank Taki for taking part in the Quick 10 and his continued opinions on social media which I find thoroughly entertaining.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

other images courtesy of Taki Inoue

DAVIS BACK FOR TEAM HARD

 

Team HARD are happy to announce that Toby Davis returns to the VW Racing Cup for 2017.

The former karter, who finished 3rd in the Junior KTM championship before moving to F250 National’s, entered Tony Gilham’s scholarship competition in 2015.

Toby won and was awarded a fully funded driver in the VW Cup last season. He took 5th place in his first race at Rockingham, coming from last on the grid after the car had a few technical issues. This showed the tenacity and determination of Toby, the same traits which awarded him the drive with Team HARD in the first instance.

He attained two pole at Donington and again showed his race craft in the final round at Brands Hatch. He did not start Race 1 due to technical issues and had to start from the back of the grid for the second race. He came through the field to finish 5th and in the finale took 3rd to round off a competitive season.

In preparation for 2017, Toby had this to say:

“The pre-season for me has been a lot of hard work, building relationships with local companies and bringing new partners on board. That said, I realised I could always be physically fitter, so I’ve joined a local football team in Cardiff, which has helped a lot in getting me ready for the new season!”

Speaking with Toby about winning the scholarship to drive for Tony Gilham, he found it overwhelming to describe his emotions.

“I can’t describe the feeling! Honestly, it was like winning the lottery. Throughout my career to date, it’s been my father and I scraping together a very small budget to go kart racing and have fun competing at a much lower level. It goes without saying that we had a great time, and I was lucky to be racing at all. But the scholarship that Tony puts on, it offers people like myself the opportunity to show what we can really do, and I honestly can’t explain how grateful I am for that opportunity. I don’t take it for granted and I try to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground!”

Like any racing driver at this time of year, Toby’s thoughts switch to the 2017 season and we asked him what his ambitions were for the forthcoming year as he builds on his first season from 2016.

“Last season was very much a learning curve for me. I had a lot of pace, we had a few mechanical issues and I made quite a few mistakes as well. To win in my second ever car race shows what might have been, and I had a couple of pole positions and some podiums to boot, which was great. I would love to compete for regular race wins and if I can sort out the mistakes, I’m hopeful we can fight for the title. Beyond the racing, the main goal is to continue to work closely with Team-HARD. to find the budget for 2018 and beyond and stay with the team as a fully-fledged car racing driver, and to earn my place as the Scholarship winner.”

His team boss, Tony Gilham, had this to say about Toby.

“Toby is an exceptional young talent and one that we recognised as a potential future champion after winning our Team HARD scholarship last year. He went on to take a race win on his debut weekend which was an amazing achievement and just highlighted the quality of the talent that came through the scholarship programme with no less than 6 other drivers progressing to race with is in 2016.

It was very important to move into year two with Toby and continue his progression and we have been working so hard over the winter to put together a package to get him back out. He has been very good with our partners and shown that he has what it takes on and off track. Now we look forward to seeing what Toby can produce with the experience of last year under his belt.”

This seemed the perfect time to sit Toby down and ask him the Quick 10 questions:

QUICK 10 WITH…..TOBY DAVIS

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

Snetterton – in my karting days we raced on long circuits in Superkarts and my first race win came at Snetterton. I love the flow of the new 300 layout and it’s very much about maximising the apex speed and carrying momentum forwards in the cars, something that comes naturally to me thanks to many years of karting.

2. Who is/was your racing idol?

That’s an easy one, and not always a popular choice – Jason Plato. Not just because he’s the most successful touring car driver, and has to be one of the most talented touring car drivers of all time, but also because of his ability to bring on board sponsors and partners and market himself and his team to them.

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Your toughest opponent is always the one that has beaten you most recently. For me that’s Phil House. He has a lot of experience and makes very good racing decisions (knowing when to overtake, for example), and I suspect he never had any contact in 2016! He’s also the reigning champion, and I’ve learnt a lot from studying him both on and off track. He did a great job in 2016 – hopefully I can do a better job in 2017!

4. Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

If I was team principal of a touring car team, it would be Jim Clark and Jason Plato. Jim Clark has to be one of the most rounded drivers of all time, and won in pretty much anything he drove.

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Tony Gilham. Think of the marketing opportunities that Tony and I could offer them!

6. Personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

I was always number 20 growing up and in karting because of Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in 1998(!) Tony’s kindly loaned me #34 as a synergy with the team, which I’d love to hold onto if I end up in BTCC – that entirely depends on whether Mr Gilham wants to have a play or not at the same time…

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

In terms of the racing, Silverstone 2016 in the MSA British Superkart Championship. Any one of about 5 drivers could have won that race and I ended up 2nd. It was incredible! (It’s on You Tube)

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in, that you would like to or had wanted to?

Easy – BTCC. That’s the goal for me, and I’m in the right place to eventually make that happen. I’m still a massive fanboy for BTCC and I’m like a small child whenever I go to an event!

9. How did you get into motor racing? What ignited that spark?

My father always used to watch the F1 and loved his bikes. He’s entirely at fault, we’re both petrolheads! My first memory as a young child was the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix, which was won on aggregate by Hill from Schumacher due to the weather. That was pure, out and out, who could go fastest in the wet, and Hill just held on. I have watched that race back many, many times and it’s still my favourite race of all time. They did 10 laps or so at the end of pure qualifying runs, right on the limit.

10. What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

My family as a whole have always been incredibly supportive, my mother has always been at the racing, sometimes watching between her fingers! Her advice has always been never give up on your dream. My dream is to drive in the BTCC, and through the incredible generosity of Team-HARD, I have been given an opportunity to get there. What was once a dream is now a tangible possibility, and I will never give up working as hard as I can to improve all aspects of being a racing driver to achieve that.

We would like to thank Toby for taking the time out from his busy preparations to take part in the Quick 10 and for supplying the photographs. Best of luck for 2017 Toby.

Go Hard…..or…..Go Home

Toby Davis Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbNoHhev59Q

Toby Davis Twitter: @TobyDavis34

http://www.team-hard.com/

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Images courtesy of Toby Davis

Sir Frank Williams, a Living Legend

2011 German Grand Prix – Friday
Nurburgring, Germany
22nd July 2011
Pastor Maldonado, Williams FW33 Cosworth.
Photo: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _A8C4283If I asked you to name five legends of Formula One I bet you’d name all drivers, right? I’d probably do the same, but how could anyone miss Sir Frank Williams from their list? The man is a living legend and has come through so much adversity during his life he really should be top of any legend list.

Frank was born in South Shields in 1942 to an RAF officer and special needs teacher, he spent much or his later childhood at St Joseph’s college a private boarding school.

It was in the late 1950s when Frank became hooked on fast cars after a friend gave him a lift in a Jaguar XK150, Personally I think we have a lot to thank this anonymous friend for, if he hadn’t given Frank a lift we may not have had, what is arguably, one of the finest Formula One teams of all time.

Before setting up Frank Williams Racing in 1966 he had a brief career as a driver and mechanic. He made his racing debut in 1961 driving an Austin A40 saloon, thereafter progressing to F3 racing both as a mechanic and driver which he funded by working as a traveling grocery salesman.

During the days of Frank Williams Racing he ran cars in Formula Two and Formula Three, in 1969 he purchased ad Brabham Formula one chassis which driver Piers Courage drove through that season, twice finishing in second place.

1970 saw the death of Courage at the Dutch Grand Prix, Frank entered into a brief partnership with Alejandro de Tomaso a partnership that ended in 1971, also in that year Frank purchased a chaises from March Engineering and ran a race car driven by French man Henri Pescarolo.

In 1972 Williams Works built their first F1 car designed by Len Bailey and called the Politoys FX3, unfortunately, Pescarolo crashed it and destroyed it in the first race of the year.

By this point, Frank was short on money and had started conducting his business from a phone box due to the fact his own phone had been cut off because he hadn’t paid the bill!

Frank decided it was time to seek sponsorship and turned to Marlboro and Italian car company Iso Rivolta, they initially agreed the deal never materialised which meant Frank was still short on cash and still searching for a sponsor, in 1976 he finally found the sponsorship he was looking for in Walter Wolf the oil tycoon.

1977 saw Frank leave Frank Williams Racing along with a young engineer called Patrick Head. The two of the bought a disused carpet warehouse in Oxford and so began the Williams Grand Prix engineering.

These days we know the team as simply WilliamsF1, although Frank has eased his role passing the reigns to his daughter Claire, he can still be seen at many races.

Frank has overcome many trials and tribulations in his life, none less than the horrific car accident that he had in March 1986.

Frank was leaving the Paul Richard circuit

on a journey to Nice airport in his Ford Sierra rental when he lost control of the car. It was very unfortunate that there was an eight-foot drop between the field the car was heading for and the road, the car landed on the driver’s side resulting in Frank being pressed between the seat and the roof causing a spinal fracture since the accident Frank has been confined to a wheelchair.

One would find it hard to write anything about Frank Williams and not include the untimely death of Ayrton Senna, under Italian law Frank was charged with manslaughter although he was cleared many years later.

Frank has been quoted as saying “Ayrton was a great man he had that fierce competitive spirit that every racing driver should have. But off the track, he was a calm, charming man and that’s what made him stand out”

Frank married his wife Virginia in 1967. they had three children Jamie, Jonathan, and Claire, Ginny, as she was known by many, sadly passed away in 2013

Frank was awarded a CBE in 1987 by the queen, then in 1999, he was knighted.

He was made a Chevalier of France’s Legion d’honneur an honnour which was presented to him for his work with Renault.

2008 saw Frank awarded the Wheatcroft trophy which is presented to people who have made significant contributions to the motorsports world.

On December 19th, 2010 Frank was awarded the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

Frank even has a street in Didcot named after him.

Now let me ask you the same question I asked earlier, would you now put Sir Frank on or even at the top of your list?

Donna Marie, deputy editor

Quick 10 With…..Mario Andretti

He won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, he is a four-time IndyCar National Champion (1965, 1966, 1969, 1984), he won the Daytona 500 (1967), the Indianapolis 500 (1969), he is a three-time pole winner at the Indy500 (1966, 1967, 1987), won the 1969 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, was a USAC National Dirt Track Champion (1974), has won the 12 Hours of Sebring three times (1967, 1970, 1972). Winner of the International Race of Champions (1979), he was 2nd overall and 1st in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.

He is the only driver to be named Driver of the Year in three different decades (1967, 1978, 1984), holds the all-time IndyCar pole positions won (67), all-time IndyCar lap leader (7,595), all-time IndyCar race starts (407). He is second in all-time IndyCar victories (52) and the is the only driver to win IndyCar races in four decades.

Add to this he is the oldest race winner in IndyCar history and is the only driver to win the Indy500, Daytona500 and the Formula One World Championship, he competed in 879 races, achieved 111 wins and 109 poles.

He is a personal hero of mine and somebody I regard as a true legend of motorsport.

These are his Quick 10…..he is the one and only legend of motor racing…..Mario Andretti.

1. What is your favourite racing circuit?

The long Nürburgring because of its challenges. Appropriately nicknamed “The Great Hell” by Jackie Stewart

2. Who was your racing idol?

Alberto Ascari

​​

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

It’s impossible to mention just one. Among the toughest I would include AJ Foyt, the three Unsers, Jackie Stewart, my son Michael, Niki Lauda, Dan Gurney. They were all exceptionally tough

4. Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

At the moment, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel

​​

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

I’d invite Mikhail Gorbachev. It took a lot of courage for him to stand up against the old regime and become an incredible force in ending communism. I’d invite Giacomo Puccini, who wrote some of my favorite operas. I’d invite Julius Caesar because he was such a badass, tougher than shit and had such audacity that I want to see what makes him tick. I’d invite The Pope. And I’d be cooking this dinner – I’d make veal chops!

6. Your personal racing number? What was it and the reason behind it?

I don’t have a personal racing number. I never asked for a particular number. The only number that meant something to me was number one.

​​

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

1976 Japanese Grand Prix in the rain

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or had wanted to?

No, I competed in everything I wanted. I don’t feel I left anything on the table

​​

9. How did you get interested in motor racing? What ignited that spark?

The spark was ignited when I went to my first race in Monza in 1954. I was 14-years-old

10. What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Don’t drive beyond your capability. That was Clint Brawner’s advice to me when I started in IndyCars

I want to thank Mario Andretti so much for agreeing to take part in this Quick 10 interview. As I mentioned at the top of the article he was a childhood hero of mine when the motor racing bug bit me. Fantastic interview with an absolute legend and I would like to wish Mr. Andretti and his family all the best.

See you at the chequered flag.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Quick 10 With…..Anna Rathe

Neil Simmons

This Quick 10 feature is a double-article as I caught up with a driver who raced at the 24 Hours of Dubai recently.

The feature is a unique one in terms of motor racing as Anna herself admits that she never followed racing but has always had an interest in cars.

At the end of her Quick 10 is her diary of the 24 Hours of Dubai. She is a bronze rated driver, finished 3rd in the 2013 Norwegian GT Championship, has competed in the Italian GT Championship and in the Gatebill Extreme Series.

Her name is Anna Rathe and these are her Quick 10 questions with me:

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

To date I have never raced on a circuit which I didn’t like. There are circuits that suit me better, yes and therefore brings back better memories maybe, but as long as I can race on them I like them. I like to say my favourite circuit is the next one I am racing at (which at the moment means I don’t know!).

2. Who is/was your racing idol?

I don’t really have one. I never followed racing much to be honest, maybe I shouldn’t say.

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Honestly, myself.

4. Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Oooh this is a question where my lack of motorsport interest bites me. I really don’t know.

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem, Simon Sinek and Aksel Lund Svindal.

6. Personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

That is definitely #35. I haven’t raced with that in years (although now would be a good time considering my age), but it comes from my first race car. I kind of had two Nissan GT-Rs at one point.

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

Definitely the Dubai 24h 2017! I have always been drawn to endurance racing, thinking it would suit me well. I was proven right.

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in, that you would like to or had wanted to?

Blancpain Endurance Series. But for now, I’m hoping to do more 24H series.

9. How did you get into motor racing? What ignited that spark?

I just wanted to. I don’t know how better to explain it. Ask my family and I’ll promise you they will confirm to you they didn’t see it coming.

10. What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

“Go out there and smile!” From my team in Reiter Young Stars 2016. Awesome guys!

Race Report: My 24 hrs Endurance Debut by Anna Rathe

Last week I got to take on what has always been the ultimate challenge for a racing driver: a 24 hours endurance race. And it simply had it all: sun, smiles, hugs and laughter. But no secrets, it was also serious, busy, hard, tough, sweaty and exhausting. This is the story.

The 24Hseries event took place 9th-14th of January, in the desert-ish surroundings of Dubai Autodrome. Winter in Dubai means lovely weather and summer-like temperatures for a Norwegian. The 5399m long circuit was new to me, but I had done my homework meticolously, studying track notes and videos to be prepared. And already Monday afternoon I walked the full circuit for the first time. The track is a mix of everything; two long high speed long straights followed by hard braking, hairpins, elevation changes, high speed corners and a Sector 1 which I knew from my preparations would be the most difficult part.

My team Reiter Engineering, which I have been racing for since 2016, arrived early Tuesday morning and got everything ready for the race week: the pit box, the tools, the parts, and quite obviously the car. We were going to race the #246 KTM X-BOW GT4, the car I’ve learned to appreciate so much during the 2016 European GT4 Championship. We were competing in class SP3, which is more or less GT4 spec.

This was the first time me and my team mates for the race got together to start working. KTM and Reiter Engineering had made an all-female driver line-up for the first race of the season, consisting of Belgian Naomi Schiff, Australian Caitlin Wood, Swiss Marylin Niederhauser, and me. Naomi and Caitlin I both knew from Reiter Young Stars, Marylin being new to GT racing coming from Formula 4. We juggled seat position, mirrors, pedals, steering wheel and driver changes. We all got along really well, highly motivated to do a good race.

Wednesday morning, bright and early at 7AM, we met at the track again for a team track walk. Our team manager Tomas Enge, us girls and the team engineers inspected every corner, curb and surface to know what to expect when hitting the track for the first time in the afternoon.

After lunch it was time to get in the car. Both me and Caitlin got a few laps on the circuit, a few tweeks on the car and all four of us continued the testing on Thursday morning. I have to say, the Dubai Autodrome really is amazing. As expected, Sector 1 was the difficult one, but it was also giggleing fun. I’ve always loved jumping curbs and high-speed-to-slow-corners, and the circuit has plenty of that. I hadn’t yet found the rhytm or the pace I wanted, but it was coming together step by step. Plus, the other girls killed it and made me confident we could have a good result in the race.

For qualifying we did some strategic choices, and Caitlin went out and put us P8 in class for the race (P55 overall). We were fairly happy with that, it was more or less where Tomas wanted us to be and we were confident our race pace would be good.

Sun set, and it was time for night practice. Being in a mixed field of a tad short of 100 cars, half of them faster and half of them slower than us, made the night racing quite interesting. The dark itself was not so much the problem, it was the constant handling of all the traffic that put an extra dimention to it. I can’t claim I had it all fully under control after my night test, but I felt confident I would survive it.

Friday morning and race day. When I got to our pit box, Mr. Reiter himself had arrived and asked me how I felt. Honest, and with a twinkle in my eye, I responded “Well, I’m the driver who had to get here early on race day to do the warm up, so I’m the slowest”. We both laughed, and he said he believed us to be strong enough for a podium. I kind of secretly thought so too.

The remaining time before the race was like a calm before the storm. The atmospere in the pits were electric. And when Caitlin took our car to the starting grid, the excitement rose to a new level. The grid walk was full of people, spectators and team members, and us being an all-girls driver line up was an attraction in itself. I have no count of how many photos we did with enthusiastic racing fans, getting lots of thumbs ups’es for the race. The support felt a bit surreal.

Race start at 14:00, and Caitlin did a brilliant job for the first stint. She kept out of trouble in the huge grid of cars, she manuevered the car through the field, and by the end of her stint we were P4 in class and P46 overall! I jumped in the car second, driver change going perfectly to plan and I hit the track with a clear task in mind: To find a god rhythm in sector 1. And I did! At the end of my stint I had shaved 3 secs off my lap time and was consistently on race pace. You can actually see from the onboard me celebrating in the car on the long straight after my best laps. I was called in to hand the car over to Marylin.

As the driver change was done and Marylin headed out on track as the sun started to set, I was greeted by Mr. Reiter in the pit box. He was very happy about my performance, gave me a hug and congratulated me on an impressive stint. At some point I had been the third fastest driver in class out there. I couldn’t have been happier in that moment, knowing that what I had just done was some of my best work in a race car. Doing that in my first stint in my first 24 hours race was pretty good timing! I couldn’t wait to get back out there! First though, it was time for resetting and getting my feet back on the ground, I needed to drink, eat and rest until my next stint. My cave was a rental car in the parking lot.

Marylin hadn’t done many laps before she got hit by another car in a multiple-car crash and was sent off into a wall. Our car took some beating, and the repairs took just 1 minute short of 3 hours. No more realistic chances of a podium for us, but Reiter wanted to give us the opportunity to get as much experience as possible and put us back out there.

Unfortunately, before it was my turn to get back in the car again, our car had a second accident, which again put us in the pit for repairs. This time for 5 hours and 18 minutes. Now the only place we could possibly reach in class was last place, and I’m sure any other team would’ve called it a day and packed up. But everybody at Reiter Engineering went for it, the mechanics heroically putting the car back together, and about 4AM in the morning we were out on track again with Caitlin in the car for her second stint.

After Caitlin it was my turn to take on my first night stint in the race. I won’t claim I shined out there, constantly maneuvering traffic, but in the end I found some kind of rhytm and as I got quicker the task also got easier, obviously. But I took no risks, whatsoever, and brought the car safely home. I would have loved to have a second night stint in the race, but sun was already rising when I handed over to Naomi.

As I got ready to get back in the car again in the morning, Mr Reiter came to me and asked if I was ready for a double stint. Happy that he showed such confidence in me, and excited to get to test my stamina, I said I would love to try. An hour out in my stint our engineer Bernie Ehrlich called me up on the radio and asked if I was fit for another hour. I thought it through for a few corners, making sure I wasn’t taking any unecessary risks, and felt good about it. I confirmed I would do a double stint.

That second hour in the car was probably my best racing performance ever. I got consistently faster and faster, and found a great rhythm maneuvering thorugh the traffic. The last 20 laps was my fastest of the race, and I couldn’t help but smile ridiculously in the car. It’s like a dance, the symbiosis of the slower and faster cars on the track, all working together for a greater good. I have never had so much fun in a race car ever! In the end I set a 2.11.373, just 7 tenths off Caitlin who had the second fastest lap of the race. I can live with that.

By the time we took the chequered flag we were P16 in class and P72 overall. We had only done 336 laps, spending more than 8 hours in the pit box with repairs. Very, very far from the result we wanted, even very far from the result we had in us. But thanks to Reiter, who put us back out after both incidents, we all gained valuable 24 hours endurance racing experience. And I had fun. Lots of fun. And this is most certainly addictive!

I am forever grateful to Reiter Engineering and KTM for making the 24H of Dubai possible. Their support for this race has been massive from day one and I can’t thank them enough. Without them, this would have never happened.

24 hours endurance racing has an extra element to it, the extreme. I used to think it would suit me well. Now I know it suits me well. I really, really hope I get to do it again!

PS! For those of you who’d like an in-depth insight into our whole all-ladies team effort in the 24H of Dubai, check out the upcoming issue of Top Gear Magazine.

I will also be uploading lots of behind the scene footage over the next days, on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account. Join in if you like!

xx Anna

Photos: Joel Kernasenko (C)

For more information, please contact Anna Rathe
Email: anna@ratheoptimal.no

Facebook: AnnaRatheRacing
Twitter: @annarathe
Instagram: @anna_rathe

I would just like to thank Anna for taking the Quick 10 and would like to wish her the best for remainder of the season.

Neil Simmons
Twitter: @world_racing

Quick 10 With….Bradley Smith

For both my blog and for The Pit Crew Online I have managed to interview some very interesting figures in motor racing. I have always said that one of my dreams would be to interview a racer at the top of their sport in either Formula One or MotoGP and it was with a great honour that British rider, Bradley Smith agreed to take part in my Quick 10 segment. Not only am I a big fan of MotoGP, I am also a fan of Bradley himself, so for me this was outstanding.

I would like to thank Bradley for taking the time out to answer these questions and wish him all the best for the remainder of the season.

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

My favourite circuit is Mugello. I really like a natural, flowing track, up and down hills and a bit of undulation. The atmosphere is always good there, bit like an ampitheatre with the track in the valley.

2. Who was your racing idol?

My racing idol didn’t actually come from MotoGP, it came from Motocross and Supercross. It was Ricky Carmichael growing up. I was a big fan from initially 95, 96, 97. I followed him throughout his career until he retired.

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

I would probably say my team mate, Pol Espargaro, just because we’ve ridden with each other from 2005. Our careers have kind of followed the same path and obviously we’re team mates at the moment inside the Monster Energy Tech 3 team and also going forward in the new adventure with KTM as well.

4. Considering riders of all-time, if you were a team principal, which two riders would you have in your team?

Just going off numbers and figures, you would have to say Casey Stoner and then Mick Doohan.

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present) who would you invite?

I would really have liked to have met Barry Sheene, just because of British history and what I’ve heard about him and the way he was. I suppose someone like Lance Armstrong, again very interested in his life in general, winning seven Tour de France. Lyndsey Vonn, downhill skier, just because she is very dominant within her sport in various different ways, coming back from injury year on year. And then Serena Williams, after watching her just win Wimbledon for the umpteenth time in Grand Slams. Incredibly talented individual. I’m a fan of sports people.

6. Personal Racing Number. What is it and the reason behind it?

#38 – #88 was my dad’s race number, a family race number and I took it over when I started riding Motocross. When I then came to the MotoGP academy I was given number 32. It was kind of tradition or the rider to take an academy number. It (#38) wasn’t available so I just did a mix between my academy number and my dad’s number.

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

I would probably say Assen last year. I think we had a 6 or 7 rider scrap inside MotoGP, like Moto3 and Moto2. I twas off camera, but it was a lot of fun.

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in that is on your to-do list or you wish you had done?

I’m ticking if off more and more. Suzuka was on my bucket list and I managed to that. I’ve done that endurance side of racing. I suppose I do look at Supercross and wish I was a Supercross rider because it is a huge, huge passion of mine. And the rest of the championships, I’ve got the rest of my career to try those.

9. How did you get involved in racing? What ignited that spark?

Really, being brought up around bikes. We owned a Motocross track and I was around it from 3 or 4 years old. I saw bikes coming in for Wednesday practice and Saturday/Sunday we were open as well. So I think just being around bikes and bicycles even, always riding my bike in the garden. Made jumps, ruined my friend’s garden patch because I wanted to dig it up and make jumps. I think once you turn from a pedal power into a motor power. From the first day I was hooked.

10. What is the best racing advice you have been given?

I would probably say the best advice, even though it sounds really, really stupid, is “Don’t crash”. And don’t crash sounds like an easy thing to say, but it has multiple meanings. In terms of don’t crash, you get results, it means you gain confidence, it means you stay injury free and it means you don’t build up massive costs to your sponsors and to your team. It has a knock-on effect. More than anything, it keeps you happy, keeps you smiling and you can build on not crashing.

It was amazing for me to put the questions to Bradley, as a fan, I would really like to thank him for taking the time to answer them whilst he was at the Sachsenring. Everybody at The Pit Crew Online wishes Bradley a speedy recover.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Quick 10 With…..Steve Parrish

He turned professional in 1976 won the ACU Solo title in the British Motorcycle Championship. He became a team mate to the late, great Barry Sheene and competed in the 1977 500cc World Champioinship where he finished 5th. He was 500cc British Champion in 1978 and won the Shell 500 title in 1979 and 1980. He also competed at eight Isle Of Man TT’s.

After retiring from motorcycle racing in 1986 he took up truck racing. In 1987 he was the British Open Truck Racing Champion and in 1990 he won both the European and British Truck Racing Championships. He held the British title for four years and retained the European title for three years. He won the European title again in 1996. He is the most successful British Truck racer ever.

Outside of truck racing he was UK Yamaha Factory team manager from 1987 to 1991 and led the team to three British Superbike Championships in 1987, 1989 and 1990. He is a regular on our TV screens commentating on bike racing, more recently World Superbikes, and is also a regular presenter of the Isle Of Man TT programmes.

These are his Quick 10 and he is…..Steve Parrish.

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

Spa Francorchamps had some great races there on the old circuit, beating Ago was one time in 1977

2. Who is/was your racing idol?

Barry Sheene then and Valentino Rossi

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Everyone is your toughest opponent especially if they are in front of me but probably Barry Sheene, always need to try to beat your team mate!

4. Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood, Roger Federer and Marco Simoncelli

6. Personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

No. 6 – No particular reason it was the only one available at the time plus it was one less than Barry Sheene NO.7 !

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

Spa 1977 when I had a great battle with Pat Hennen, Steve Baker and Ago and beat them all!!!

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in, that you would like to or had wanted to?

British Touring Cars

9. How did you get into motor racing? What ignited that spark?

Got into it because I loved engines and taking them a part and we had a disused airfield nearby so I would take my brothers bike and ride up and down it

10. What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Preparation, Preparation, preparation! Always check the motorcycle, car, truck over before getting on it!

I know Steve is a very busy man, so I would like to not only thank him for taking the time out from his hectic schedule to answer these questions but for the also the interaction on Twitter where is always kind enough to answer a Tweet and be entertaining.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Photo Credits: www.steveparrishracing.com

Quick 10 With…..Mattias Ekstrom

2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship / Round 03, Mettet, Belgium / May 14 – 15 2016 // Worldwide Copyright: IMG/McKlein

He is currently racing in DTM for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and in the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the team he founded, EKS RX. He is a Swedish Touring Car champion, two-time DTM champion (2004 & 2007) and has won the Race of Champions three times (2006, 2007 & 2009). He has also raced in V8 Supercars, the World Rally Championship, European Rallycross, the Global Rallycross Championship, competed in the Bathurst 1000 and in the NASCAR Sprint Cup at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in 2010. He is one of the most dynamic and charismatic drivers in racing and it was my absolute pleasure to put my Quick 10 questions to…….

MATTIAS EKSTROM

1. What is your favourite circuit and why?

Nürburgring-Nordschleife – it’s simply unique.

2. Who is/was your racing idol?

Walter Röhrl.

3. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Petter Solberg.

4. Considering drivers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which drivers would you have in your race team? (WRX or other)

Walter Röhrl, Sébastien Loeb, Petter Solberg.

5. If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Juan Pablo Montoya, Felix Neureuther, Frans and Novak Đoković

6. Personal racing number. What is it and the reason behind it?

#5 – because a lot of things in life have something to do with “5” – like you have 5 fingers on your hands.

7. What is the best race you have been involved in?

DTM Brno 2004 (winning my first DTM title under a lot of pressure), Bathurst 1000, NASCAR Sonoma, WorldRX Höljes, World RX Hockenheim.

8. Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or have wanted to?

No. Luckily I was able to try everything I wanted like WRC, NASCAR, V8 Supercars, DTM, WorldRX, GT racing.

9. How did you get into motor racing? What ignited that spark?

My father was a rallycross driver so I spent a lot of time in the paddocks when I was young. Despite that I wanted to become a tennis player. Then I drove a kart and from this moment I wanted be become a race driver.

10. What is the best racing advice you have been given?

Go hard or go home 🙂

It’s not often that you get to interview people you regard as your heroes or admire in racing, especially as a World Rallycross fan. This was one of those times. I would like to thank Mattias for taking the time to answer these questions and wish him the very best for the remainder of the season.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Photo Credits:

Mattias Ekström