The road to the top of the motorsport ladder is naturally a tricky one. Much like the twisty and unforgiving turns of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, there is opportunity but also risk around every corner of a racing driver’s career. Some make it out victorious, others have to accept defeat and move on. It’s a sport that is extremely costly, both literally and metaphorically – but the feeling of standing on the podium is what makes these talented men and women compete to be the very best.
Looking specifically at those ‘pathways’ I mentioned earlier, there are many different ways to get into competitive racing. Many start at a very young age in go-karts, often giving them an ability to feel weight distribution and steering input far easier than us mere mortals. Others discover racing far later on in life, where they perhaps are a little more financially stable and are keen to learn.
Now, here at AdFeeder we sponsor Team BRIT racing driver Andy Tucker for many reasons – he’s mightily fast for one. He’s also local to our agency and we love the idea of supporting a Welsh driver. His story is also one of the biggest inspirations to follow a dream, no matter what life throws at you. We’ve covered a little more about Andy’s story and his sponsorship with us here, so please check it out when you can!
So what do you do if you have 15 minutes with a racing driver? You ask them lots of questions of course! Here are some of Andy’s best answers to some questions we threw at him.
EN: So Andy, welcome to our cosy AdFeeder studio, let’s go straight in and ask you, what was your first car?
AT: Ah no, I knew you were going to ask me this, I don’t really want to answer it as it was a Ford Escort Estate! But, I did upgrade to a Peugeot 106 GTI afterwards.
EN: Put yourself back to someone who’s never sat in a racing car, can you describe what it’s actually like to drive one? And was it a childhood dream for you to do this as a career?
AT: It’s definitely a childhood dream. I’ll never forget as a kid sitting with my father watching Grandstand, the BTCC or the Formula One. Every single time there was a race on close to home we would make the effort to visit the circuit and watch. So yeah, it’s actually more than a childhood dream for me to do what i do now, it’s always been an ambition, but it was taken away from me at one point so I’m very glad that I’m fortunate enough to race for Team BRIT as they have the technology within the cars that allow disabled drivers such as myself the ability to race these cars on a level playing field, and if that didn’t exist, my dream would be shattered. I’m very happy to see teams like Team BRIT that can help disabled drivers achieve their dreams.
EN: Speaking in terms for your performance, do you find racing requires just as much mental strength as it does physical?
AT: I think you’ve got to really fit mentally, as the kind of racing we do is endurance racing, so you have to able to push yourself to the limit constantly. Next season we will be doing three hour races and if i cant perform to the best of my ability physically and mentally, we aren’t going to get the positions we need on track and i know how much i, the team and my co-driver Luke want to win.
So we work really hard behind the scenes on our personal training schedules and fitness programmes to ensure we are all performing to the best of our abilities. We spend an awful lot of time in the simulator getting the laps in, but the performance difference between the sim and the real thing is massive. People often don’t realise just how demanding motorsport actually is, manly because of the temperatures within the cockpit of the car. Imagine you’re in your road car with the heaters on full blast for hours, except we are double and sometimes triple layered with fire-proof gear and only our eyes without layers on! The key here is to stay hydrated, and mentally just preparing yourself to be ready for the hour-long stint that you’re about to have inside the car, meaning if your perfomance levels aren’t as high as they could possibly be you’re going to really struggle!
EN: You mention that you’re racing in endurance racing now, does that alter your mindset when you’re sat on the starting grid? Are you constantly having to play the long game, or is your attitude to simply go for glory early on in the race to better your chances as the laps go by?
AT: So you have to restrain yourself a little, because obviously the race isn’t just a mad dash to the finish, meaning you have to avoid the drivers who forget to play the long game and just pick off drivers where it’s safe to do so. The first lap is usually a little crazy, where a good example of this was in Silverstone last year, we overtook 13 cars on the first lap, putting us right up there with our class. Once the madness settles down a little, you find a rhythm and start to reel in drivers in front. We had another great run in Donington Park earlier in the year where my radio coms with the team had completely failed at the start of the race, where they could hear me but I had no idea what position I was actually in. I had to push as hard as I could whilst trying to fight off some hard chargers behind me, but coming into the pits at the end and seeing we got a 2nd place was a fantastic moment for the whole team.
At the end of the day, racing is very much a team sport, I could never go out and risk smashing the car to bits for the sake of a glory move, we are constantly being fed information by the team and it’s the points and positions at the end of the race that are the most important things!
EN: So looking back to your childhood, did you ever believe you could race at the level you are now, and do you feel the sport is accessible enough now for children growing up with a passion for the sport?
AT: I grew up racing go karts in a little place called Supakarts in Newport, where i’d enter weekend competitions but sadly never had the money to actually take my hobby and passion further into outdoor racing. But nowadays, there are so many organisations out there now that are helping the younger generation into motorsport and getting them through the ranks. A great example of this is my team mate from last year Matty, who helps run the Cadet Kart Championship at a circuit local to him, with kids as young as five years old smashing lap times around the track.
That’s where the passion begins, and although it’s still not as accessible or affordable as it should be, but i’ve seen just how fast some of these children are. They go for gaps while racing that even I wouldn’t go for! Looking at the current F1 grid, Lando Norris, George Russell and Charles Leclerc are just a few that have risen through the ranks to discover glory. I believe karting is the best foundation for racing, it sets people up perfectly for the usually chaotic world of motorsport.
EN: Let’s go back to some quick-fire questions – Your favourite racing driver?
AT: Ohhhh great question – I have loads. Schumacher, Prost, Senna, Mansell. When you watch Nigel when he did the stint in BTCC back in the day you realise just how good that guy was. But, and I’m not blowing smoke up is a**, but my team mate Bobby is truly one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met. His mentality and the way he approaches races is unlike anyone else, and he’s only 22!
EN: Dream road car?
AT: I’m currently really fancying the Lotus Exige 430 Cup at the moment, it’s a little out of my price range and always will be, but they are ridiculous out on the road!
We’d like to thank Andy Tucker for taking the time to sit with us and brilliantly answer the questions we threw at him! Follow all of Team BRIT as they compete in more endurance races in 2022. Check out their Instagram page here, and be sure to give Andy a follow here!
Elliot is our resident tech-lover and petrolhead, who is in charge of spreading AdFeeder to the masses! Having previously worked with brands such as Porsche and BMW, Elliot specialises in content creation and social media.