Interview: Jake Hughes, BMW Junior Motorsport Racer

I interviewed Jake without knowing too much about motorsport. I drive, so surely there can’t be much else to know.. mirror, signal, manoeuvre … WRONG!

It turns out motorsport is an art, a sport that takes up a tremendous amount of time and needs 100% commitment. During the time I spent with Jake he talked through his current ‘motorsport life’ and how hard it can be to make it to the top:

How did you get into motorsport?
My family are all big footie fans, Villa footie fans to be more specific, so where my love for racing came from.. I’m not too sure. My Mom has told me my Grandad was a big fan so maybe it all stems from him. But like the majority of boys, I did always have a keen eye for cars; however they never played a big part in my life until my 15th Birthday when my parents took me and a group of friends to the West Bromwich Indoor Carting Centre. They were holding a championship race on the day, which I took part in and was spotted by Andy Cox (owner of Andy Cox racing) who invited me for some test days. I then began racing with him. A bit surreal when I look back to be honest!

As the racing began to step up and get more serious, I can remember my Dad calling me downstairs to have a ‘man to man’ chat. Racing takes up a lot of time, as well as being very expensive and we had to ensure as a family we were ready to take that on. It didn’t take us long to agree that we were ready to take on the world of Motor Racing, and the rest is history!

Have your parents been converted to Motor Racing fans?
Football will always hold a special place in their hearts however… yes I think I’ve won them over (he laughs). My Dad sits at the side of the track on my test & race days with his timer, analysing every break, turn… breath I take. He is one of my biggest critics; I really couldn’t do it without him.

What’s it like racing the cars?
In single seaters you are a lot higher up and therefore there’s a lot more air running through the car, which is great. GT Cars on the other hand are very hot and claustrophobic! The cars are made as small as possible, to go as fast as possible, so your legs are practically tied together, with your feet glued to the peddles. You have 2 layers of fire proof clothing on, plus a balaklava and helmet, which is great on cold days but when you’re racing within an International warm climate you can imagine how hot it can get! But don’t let me put you off… when you begin racing the excitement and adrenaline soon takes your mind of that!

What sort of training do you do for Motor Racing?
I have a lot of test/practice days, where I race the track and afterwards head inside for a de-brief, where we analyse the results, looking at speed and the analytics from the car. The cars I race monitor everything, from the pedals I press to when I turn the wheel, which allows us to ensure I am driving efficiently and racing correctly. If I am unable to test a track for a race, I practice in our training stimulator. This is like a glorified car game.. any lads dream! Basically, as I would normally, I sit in a racing car and the track appears on a 360 degree screen.. cool, right!?

Who is your racing idol and why?
Lewis Hamilton (he said immediately). He was the first Brit to win the Grand Prix in 10 years! He also won his first Grand Prix in 2010 which was around the time I began racing, so he was a huge inspiration for me. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to meet him; however I have met Jenson Button who is really nice and very down to earth!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time.. What’s that? (he laughs). You will find me in the gym or out on a bike somewhere.. I am a huge fitness fanatic. I have to keep fit for my racing, so I suppose it’s a good thing I enjoy doing it. However, apart from sport I will head into the Bullring to shop and when I am in Birmingham I have to make ‘pit stop’ (sorry I couldn’t resist) a Bar Estilo!

You can see more of what Jake loves to do in Birmingham here

This is always a tough question but, where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
At the moment I coach lads training for Formula 4, which I have already competed in. It is great to see how far I have come, now being able to teach people to do what I love and to see my career go full circle. However, my first aim would be to become pro and be able to focus solely on my training and becoming the best. My 10 year dream is to be racing within Formula 1, which is most Motor Racers dream, so you can see how competitive it is and how hard I am going to have to work to get there!

Since having interviewed Jake, his professional racing career has taken a significant leap, having been selected to be a member of the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

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