Nicholas Hoult’s road to Ferrari began in 2002 when the producer of ‘About A Boy,’ where the actor made one of his first big-screen debuts opposite Hugh Grant, brought his 550 Maranello to the set. “I was 12 years old and got to sit in the Ferrari, and I remember being obsessed with the gated shifter for the manual gearbox, it was so cool,” says Hoult. “It was a surreal experience, taking-in that incredible car and dreaming about what the future might hold for me. I suppose you could say I was hooked,” he continues.
Between then and now, chatting with Hoult during lunch at Ferrari Corso Pilota Sport at Thermal Raceway, CA, Hoult’s career has spanned films from the cerebral to the fantastic, including ‘X-Men’ from 2011-2019 (as Hank McCoy, aka ‘Beast’); ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’; and the literary biopics ‘Tolkien’ and ‘Rebel in the Rye,’ in which he stars as authors J.R.R. Tolkien and J.D. Salinger. To say he’s escaped Hollywood typecasting would be an understatement.
Hoult is now starring in television’s ‘The Great’ as Russia’s ill-fated Peter opposite actress Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Catherine the Great, which returns for its second season in 2021. ‘The Great’ is Hoult’s second pairing with Tony McNamera, who also created the Academy Award-winning motion picture ‘The Favourite’ in which Hoult also stars.
“My obsessive nature benefits me, acting-wise,” says Hoult, when asked whether there are parallels between acting and driving. “When I’m preparing a character or learning lines, working on a script or doing takes, I’m trying to find new things that work better – to perfect a moment in a scene – and that process is very similar in many ways to leaning to race,” Hoult explains. “At Ferrari Corso Pilota you have a director – top-flight professionals – giving you really great instruction with the technology to analyze your telemetry data each time you come off the track. By listening to them, their inputs will make your outputs as a driver so, so much better.”
“Driving the 812 Superfast and F8 Tributo on the road is wonderful but, getting them on the track to see what they can really do with no limits – or rather, only the limits of your own skill level – it’s the best. You can look at it on a very technical level where you improve skills and take it all very seriously, but then there are also those times when you’ve just got that big grin on your face, listening to that incredible engine open up, and you can’t really beat that.”
How much further would Hoult like to take his training with Corso Pilota? “I could do this every day, and just live at the track!,” says Hoult. “I’d like to keep progressing to the next level, perhaps even take it all the way to compete in the Ferrari Challenge.” If the trajectory of his career is any indication, that future looks bright.