Man, what a weekend… it was so incredibly cool to finally be inside the F1 paddock, and get to see my ultimate goal from behind the scenes, right amongst it all.
The week leading up to it, the GP weekend itself, and the 4 days after have been some of the busiest days I think I’ve ever had, between my role with Acronis, our F1 partnerships, and our partnerships outside of F1… not to mention networking, presenting at our guests brunch, and ultimately enjoying myself!
One of my highlights of the weekend was being able to catch up with some of my old engineers & mechanics from my F3 days, who are now all working in F1… so it was super cool to catch up with them and see them in their element.
I’ve finally got some down time now on my flight home, so I’m catching up on admin, my blog + other projects I’ve got going on right now…! Looking forward to getting home and seeing Einstein and my family & friends… not so sure about coming home to colder weather though haha….
So for the last 3 days me and my mate Brad have been road tripping down from Auckland in his Gallardo for the annual Lamborghini Bull run NZ. We’ve had a pretty fun trip down, we had to drive a car down for his sister at the same time, so we had a pretty crack up convoy going on with a bright yellow Gallardo being ghosted by a little bright blue Mitsubishi Mirage, so it made for quite a funny pair haha.
About an hour outside Taupo we had to deal with an accident that unfolded right in front of us which really sucked and put a huge damper on the mood for the day. It was actually so lucky, because it almost took out the Gallardo !!! We were following a big truck & trailer, so it was the truck, then Brad in the Gallardo, then me in the Mirage, and all of a sudden, this SUV coming toward us just drifted over to our side of the road, and clipped the back of the truck & trailer, which pulled it straight in front of the Gallardo missing it by probably 5 or so meters before hitting a bank on the side of the road… was pretty full on to say the least.
These sorts of things really make me appreciate and applaud emergency workers who have to deal with these sorts of things on a daily basis… I can’t imagine having to see that sort of stuff all the time! So my hats off to them.
The rest of the trip was a blast though, it was great to take South Highway 1 north of Kaikoura which has only just re-opened recently after the Kaikoura quake at the end of 2016! At this point it was 3 Gallardo’s and the Mirage as we caught up with two other cars doing the bull run in Wellington, so it was pretty awesome taking this convoy down such a rough road, and the sight of 3 (4 including the Mirage 😉 ) supercars taking this route full of road works certainly turned a few heads.
The last day of the run we spent at the private race track near my family farm which I’ve mentioned in some of my old posts, so we cut some laps there, and we were then meant to go back up to Kaikoura to check out a private car collection, but me and Brad opted for an early exit, as the last 3 days of driving, the roof down, and the NZ sun absolutely roasting us the whole time, we were well and truly ready for some chill time! All and all an epic trip, and I can’t wait doing it in my LP640 next year 😛
So after a quick trip to Grand Prix Racewear to pick up some new gloves before the weekend, we arrived at the Paris Motor Show. I think it’s still pretty early days of the show so it wasn’t overly busy, but at the same time, there were quite a few people there, and definitely lots to see, which was great.
I’ve never attended a massive show like this, so it was great to see one of such high level first hand. We started off at BMW, before making our way around the show to see the various new cars & concept cars on display, as well as all the motorsport section which was pretty cool to show my Brother as he hasn’t seen as much of the top level motorsport stuff in person before.
Of course… as any car nut does when presented the opportunity… we dabbled in every simulator we came across during the day… mainly for me to try and embarrass everyone else giving them a go by smashing their lap times by a few seconds, and for my brother to try and beat me…. good old brotherly competition 😉
So over the last two days, I’ve been with my team and our sponsors Internet X at a special event arranged by them and one of their close friends World Hosting days – together they invited around 50 of the worlds best from the hosting industry, and we were there to show them how to drive and share what it is we do with them. which was pretty cool because we don’t often get the chance to do that, or let alone take people for rides… especially me considering I have driven single seaters most of my time racing!
The track day was held is a super sick location just out of Salzburg at the Salzburgring, which is set in the middle of some hills & forrest, so it’s pretty beautiful. The first day we were there we were kind of doing our own thing, and setting up for all the guests the following day, where we took them for laps in our KTM X-Bow, along with the Reiter GT3 Camero & GT1 Murcielago.
Met some great people over the course of the weekend and really enjoyed showing them what I do and how I do it. My highlight was definitely taking a 9 year old boy of one of the guests around for some hot laps, while he was meant to be at school for the day. He was so super excited and to see his excitement beforehand and the massive smile on his face afterwards was super cool.
Attending the Monaco GP in the weekend meant another dream come true for me… and I can happily say it exceeded my expectations through and through. I think the fact that I’m still feeling a bit chalky writing this on Tuesday afternoon, goes to show just how full on the weekend was. From arriving back to Monaco late on Thursday afternoon from my Munich trip, I was already pretty tired, but there was no time to rest, and I was literally straight off the train to my apartment to drop my bags off and freshen up, and on my friends Yacht in the heart of the action in less than 45 minutes after arriving!
It’s great how things always seem to fall into place at the last minute, because I hadn’t really had time to plan anything for the weekend in terms of where I would watch from etc, because there was a possibility I was going to be at the Nurburgring 24h instead which is the same weekend… but with only a few days in hand and still no plans made, I remembered that one of my old team mates from F3 days’ manager had invited me onto her yacht a couple years ago… and so it was a case of a very late RSVP 😉
Besides just being on a yacht in Monaco for the Grand Prix, I met some super cool people, and made some awesome friends. Some of the highlights of the weekend included partying with Sergio Perez’s family and friends who were next to us on their yacht, and also being personally invited by Eddie Jordan to enjoy his band live on the roof of the Yacht Club De Monaco along with a couple of my new friends from the Yacht I was on – Impulse, Chris & Collin from Kiltads. This led to a pretty epic night that somehow culminated with us in a booth at one of the most exclusive clubs in Monaco without paying for anything…. though I’m sure some poor dude would have copped the bill at the end of the night, I’m sure as hell glad it wasn’t me!
So after a few days back in Monaco, I made my way up here to Munich where I had a few meetings for a new project I’m working on in Health Care. Of course being in Munich there was no way I was going to miss going to see the BMW Factory and Museum, the heart of the very reason I started racing, through my love for old BMW’s which I acquired during high school when me and my brother Steve started buying and selling second hand cars to make money!
It wasn’t long before we developed a fondness for the E30, and it soon led to a fixation for us with the “golden era” of DTM through the E30 M3, and it was this that eventually inspired me to turn an 1984 318i that I had bought as a parts car, into a DTM look a like, just to take to the track now and then for fun… but I won’t get into that just yet, that’s a whole other story!
Having said that though, it was one of my absolute highlights today to see in the flesh the actual car that inspired me all those years ago to go against what everyone was telling me, and turn this pristine E30 into a track car… Hope you enjoy the pics as much as me, and I look forward to sharing that story about the E30 soon in another post!