Lives: Banbury, Oxon
Occupation: Professional racing driver
Currently competing in: Front-runner/race-winner with SEAT in HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship
Career highlights: 2007 6th overall/3 race wins BTCC; 2007 class winner/6th overall for Aston Martin at Le Mans 24 Hours; 1999-2002 McLaren F1 team test driver; 1998 runner-up, Formula Palmer Audi; 1996 runner-up Formula Renault UK; 2003-07 front-runner/class winner FIA GTs & American Le Mans Series
What got you interested in motor sport in the first place?
There was a Sunday market near Camberley where my parents live and on my there I’d pass the kart track so used to drop by and watch. I liked it so convinced my dad I wanted to have a go.
Where/how did you get started?
The same track, at Blackbushe. I was 13, quite late. I did odd jobs and ran errands and saved up all my birthday money!
What was your first car and how much did it cost you?
It was a second hand kart for £500. We got sold a kipper but you learn and that’s part of the fun of it. Mistakes aren’t a bad thing. You can have the fairytale life or you go and find out for yourself, which I think makes you a stronger person.
What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?
If you’re serious about any sport you have to knuckle down. It’s not easy – it’s meant to be a challenge. It’s a case of raising your game and I think motor racing is a bit different because of the sums of money to compete. You almost become a businessman or woman which again I think is a good thing. The best drivers aren’t always the fastest. They are the ones who make things happen off the track and keep themselves moving up. It’s about making things happen for you. I was quite shy early on. I felt awkward asking people for advice and help. In actual fact everyone is human and you never know unless you get talking who knows what and what you can discover…
Are you a member of a motor club and how long for?
No, but I do think they are a really good thing. They offer a great way to get started on a low budget which is the way in.
Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?
It gives you such a good life and helps you find out what sort of a character you are. It gives you a great outlook on life. It gives you competition and urges you on. I like doing other sports, but I can’t wish for a better sport to be involved with.