I grew up as the tiny kid with a hat and backpack (or fanny pack at my more embarrassing times) who was tagging along with my dad to all the races. We often went to Laguna Seca for nearly every event that we possibly could. And I recall that no matter what the event was on any given race weekend, be it Champ Car, ALMS, or even SCCA Club Racing, each and every driver seemed like a glamorous superstar in my eyes. I found it unbelievable that these guys were driving such beautiful machines on a race track that I've only experienced through television and video games. Little did I know that the drivers ranged from paid professionals to adrenaline junkie hobbyists, and that the vehicle spectrum spread from modern engineered supercars to donor street cars held together by zip ties.
This perception of cars and their drivers still has not fully left me. There are still many times when I sit in my race car at pre-grid, thinking to myself "this is more than what I ever realistically dreamed to do when I was a kid." It still blows my mind now and then when I casually mention in a conversation, "oh ya, I love that race track!" because I have actual firsthand experience driving it!
So this is where I'm at now, still racing a Formula Mazda on some widely known race tracks, still with my younger self's attitude of "holy crap I'm actually doing this." I realize that I am insanely lucky, and who knows whether or not I deserve to have been given these opportunities. But since I am here and racing, I want to bring the fans as close to my experience as possible. How I would have loved, when I was little, to ride along in a race car or even to hang out with the crew in the paddock. Now with the help of Internet availability nearly everywhere, declining costs of high quality video cameras, and powerful social networking, the race weekend experience can be shared with everyone who may not be able to experience it in person.
What I am looking to do is to make every fan possible feel like they themselves are part of the team, or even feel what it is to be in the driver's seat. While it may be exciting to pretend I'm some untouchable celebrity, living a whole different life in an entirely different world from the rest of the population, I'd rather remove this distance as much as possible. I want race fans to see me as a person, just like them, who chose a path in the racing field and worked like crazy to turn it into a reality. I'm never fearless behind the wheel of a race car, I don't dream of driving techniques, I was not born with natural driving skills, and believe it or not I have hobbies and interests outside of the automotive field. What I do in racing and am trying to achieve, can be done by a good number of other people as well. And for everyone who is not racing, I want to share with them what it's like and how I'm moving forward in it. As mentioned before, the goal is to make every fan a part of the racing team.
So how is this going to happen? The answer to this questions is constantly evolving, and I'm sure that I'll have a handful of new ideas a week from now. I've already started with my video blogs from each race. More videos will probably need to start happening, outside of just the race weekends. I'd like to share where I am in my racing career, what I'm working towards, and how I'm doing it. And of course any fun stuff in between is good, too, car-related or not. Also, it's been in the works for a while, but I'm trying to work out ideas to provide live streaming video from the race events. This includes both streaming video from inside the car during my race events, and streaming video of our paddock area on any given race weekend. This way, you can witness what we do at the track when I'm not driving, whether we're rebuilding a gearbox or just hanging out. With that said, I'm obviously not promising entertainment here, just trying to give people an idea of what actually happens. If I can ever get my hands on Google Glass, that is certainly going to happen as well. Beyond all this, who knows. Setting up Q&A's somehow may lie in the future, with live chats or question submissions to be answered in bulk. We'll see, there's a lot to figure out!
As many of you already know, I'm attempting to make my first steps into the professional racing tiers, starting with the Pirelli World Challenge. Even more exciting and unique, I'm trying to make it happen with the help of crowdfunding. The Internet is indeed a powerful creation! This event will be a big one for me, and I'll be getting as much video footage of it as I can possibly handle. Plus, those who choose to donate towards this venture ($5 and up) get to be part of the team and experience with their name credited on the race car itself, and on a special page on the website (coming soon). Why such a little amount? Because every little bit adds up, and truly does help. Also, because $5 means more names and more stickers, which just sounds like a lot of fun. Anyways! You can read more about the event and donate here.
And always, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Thanks everyone!