Paul Hogarth is the guest of today’s edition of Fast Lane. We met the Stratstone Manchester driver, who finished third in this year’s Ferrari Challenge UK Trofeo Pirelli, to find out how his passion for the Ferrari one-make competition arose after a career of almost twenty years in the racing world.
First question has got to be why did you choose to race in the Ferrari Challenge?
“I literally got introduced to the car at Silverstone, by my fantastic dealer in Manchester who basically said one of the owners of one of the cars would let me have a few laps, I went down and he was brilliant he let me have more than a few laps, I just did more and more and more, I think I did more than he did that day, and I fell in love with the car and I just thought I have got to do this”.
Did you come into the Challenge with lost of racing experience or was this completely new for you?
“I’ve got a bit of experience, I’ve been kicking around for a long time hence the silver or white hair, I’ve been racing on and off for probably about 20 odd years, I’ve done numerous things, Carrera Cup, GT Cup and started doing Formula Fords actually when I was a lad – a little bit of single seaters – just Formula Fords”.
Every driver I speak to says the 488 Challenge is an extraordinary piece of racing kit – you would agree with that?
“Yes totally, you cannot believe how good the car is, its an amazing piece of kit – I love it. Its quite hard to squeeze that last bit out of it, you’ve got to be really patient with it and I’m probably still learning that, but it’s an incredibly quick car and it’s a pleasure to drive, it dances around in your hands, it’s stunning. On a day like today art Snetterton when we were out this morning in the rain it was just amazing, and the cross over going from wets to slicks was amazing too”.
You’re a svelte individual; a, it looks like you train. Is there anything you do particularly to prepare for a race weekend?
“I try to lose a bit of weight, running up to the weekend, so I play a lot of tennis and stuff so try to do that, and I watch what I eat as well going towards the race day. Because of nerves I don’t touch any food at all on race weekends, and then gorge myself afterwards!”.
A lot drivers I speak to use music to prepare themselves, do you do that?
“No I don’t, I probably should do but I don’t, its quite a busy day I mean Saturday is an incredibly busy day, you don’t seem to get much time, but No I don’t listen to music”.
Favourite circuit you’ve raced on?
And the one memorable moment you can take out from this season which is the highlight?
“I think racing in the wet at Donington, in the first race on the Saturday where myself and Han (Sikkens) were battling away for most of the race and I got past him to take second, and actually, probably, I’m going to change my answer if I may, I’ll go back to Brands Hatch where I was leading the race for 24 laps in the wet, and unfortunately I hit the blend line and we were just kicked off the circuit with the race at my mercy so that’s kind of bittersweet but it was still exciting, but going second at Donnington was a good one”.