Fast Lane interviews Paul Simmerson. The Graypaul Birmingham driver concluded an excellent season in the Ferrari Challenge UK. In his second year, he claimed third place overall in the Coppa Shell. In the interview, Paul spoke about how much he enjoyed the Ferrari environment.
Second year in the Ferrari Challenge UK, why Ferrari Challenge?
“Basically it’s the whole thing - it’s the first time for me doing any form of motorsport, I always wanted to do something like this, but I don’t know anybody, I haven’t got any friends in motorsport or know anybody that does motorsport. Myself and my father were over specc’ing a car in the factory and in Fiorano they opened the shed where all the (F1 Clienti) F1 cars are, and I was like wow look at all these cars! When they told me they were customer cars for F1 Clienti / Corse Clienti I was like wow I didn’t know anything about it, and then they said do you want to start doing racing as we’re going to do it in the UK so I was like ‘sign me up’, so I bought a car, turned up at the first test session at Brands Hatch. I just love the Ferrari family, the people, the drivers the laughs we have, the banter we have”.
Someone said to me once you’re a member of the Ferrari family its something you will not experience anywhere else, is that true for you?
“Yes absolutely, absolutely. I have bought other cars from other manufacturers but the Ferrari family in terms of the customers, the clientele, all the dealership guys, they are friends they are genuinely friends. So yes it is a family: these are friends that you make for life”.
I’ve got to ask you about the livery on your car (Blue and Black), its striking, did you design it Paul?
“Yes, yes we did, we designed it ON the car, last year I had a designer work on the car, I said what I wanted, and I worked with the designer and this year I got my guys in my own workshop, we wrapped it, I like the blue thing the black and blue thing, so yes we worked up the design on the car and it has worked quite well”.
This year you’ve been driving the 488 Challenge car, you’re going to get the chance to drive the 488 Challenge EVO, reflecting on the Challenge car first of all – a good racing car to drive?
“How do I answer that? I wouldn’t class myself as a racing driver even though I stand here in a racing suit… It’s an awesome piece of kit, the speed, the power, it’s one of those cars where I don’t think they need any more power, although down the straight you obviously always want more; a little bit of understeer, other than that it is a brilliant car to drive”.
Reflecting on the two years of your racing what has been the highlight?
“The people, the people I have met, the friendships I’ve made, the banter on the track and also off the track, all the drivers have become friends, so I’d say the people, the racings been fantastic but I’d say for me the people”.
Is there a standout favourite circuit you’ve been too Paul?
“There’s two, I’m going to say two. One Brands Hatch the elevations, the changes in direction certainly the GP circuit, to drive that was just awesome.
I also liked Croft believe it or not because I liked the fact that it felt dangerous, but I liked that because if you went off there, you end up in corn fields, you end up in barriers I had a great time there, but overall I’d say Brands Hatch GP”.