Interview: Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke

We recently caught up with Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke as he competes in the prestigious British GT Championship behind the wheel of a Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.
What sparked your interest in Motorsport and how did you start your motor racing journey?

I’ve been interested in Motorsport for as long as I can remember, I would always watch the F1 races with my Dad on TV and having grown up around cars the interest grew from there. I just loved the idea of driving a car as fast as possible and competing against other people trying to do the same thing. From an early age I always loved anything that had a competitive element.

What advice would you give to a 13 year old you wanting to forge a career in motor racing?

I would tell myself to leave the ego behind. 13 year old me, like many boys of that age, believed he was invincible and could do anything. You must stop acting like you’re better than everyone else or know more than them, because you don’t. Everyone has something to teach you, you just need to listen.

Who in motorsport do you most respect and admire and why?

It would have to be the late, great Niki Lauda. What he went through with his injuries and subsequently achieved on his return was simply awesome. His drive, determination and force of will is something I truly admire and aspire to in my career.

If you could change one thing in motorsport for the better, what would that be?

I would like to see less money be needed for people to go racing. All sports require money but some of the budgets required for certain championships nowadays are jaw dropping. If budgets came down, it would be far more accessible and fewer drivers would have to give up on their dreams in the early stages of their careers because of the lack of money.

What does a typical race weekend look like?

A typical race weekend is normally split into 3 stages – Practice, Qualifying and the Race. The practice sessions take place on a Saturday morning starting at about 9am and lasts for about an hour. Before this, we drivers will usually have a briefing given by the Race Director which goes through some of the finer details of the weekend. The second practice session is normally at 11am and take us through to lunch. During or just after lunch, I would then sit down with my engineer and go through the telemetry data collected from the mornings practice which shows me everything about how I’m driving the car and we run through it to identify areas of potential improvement to find a better lap time. We would also then discuss the strategy and car setup for qualifying. The afternoon then takes us to qualifying where the objective is to go out and attempt to do the perfect lap, you’d usually get two attempts at this before the tyres begin to lose performance. Sunday is race day and, again, I would spend the hours before going through the telemetry and looking for minor improvements, before completing a quick physical warm-up and then getting in the car. From there, it’s a case of staying calm and fully focusing on performing at my best for the entirety of the race. Hopefully after the race, the weekend will finish off with some champagne celebrations and a first-place trophy!

All jobs have good and bad points – what is the worst thing in yours?

For me, the worst thing would be the travel. I live very close to Silverstone so races and test days there are not a problem but other circuits such as Oulton Park in Cheshire can mean up to 3 hours in the car often very early in the morning and then late at night when coming home. Races in Europe obviously require either the hassle of flights or very long car journeys. Getting to and from the circuits (aside from Silverstone) is definitely my least favourite part about what I do.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

It has to be winning the Monosposto 1600 championship in 2014. I’d only been racing at that point for 3 years and it was my first foray into the world of single seaters so to take the title in my debut season was a special feeling.

How do you handle the frustration when things outside of your control go wrong on track?

I simply focus on the fact that those things are outside of my control. If I concentrate on performing to the best of my ability and something still goes wrong, then it can be written off as just one of those days where it wasn’t meant to be. If I’ve performed as well as I can, then I’ve given myself the best chance possible of a good result.

What is your fitness regime and what exercises are the most important?

My fitness regime is made up of a mix of exercises that target all the different areas of the body. There isn’t really one exercise which stands out as the most important as racing drivers need to have a good balance of strength across the whole body.
I work quite closely with the guys at Porsche Human Performance and go to Porsche twice a week. My sessions there take up to two hours to complete and I normally do 3 sets of exercises focussed on my lower body, legs, upper body and my core strength. I also get a cardio session on a bike for another two days of the week, so normally I’m in the gym 4-5 days a week.

We all know that motorsport is dangerous and requires good risk management. Tell us about a time when you have made a particularly good decision?

I would say a particularly good decision was when I decided to accept an offer to compete at the Dubai 24 hour race in 2016. The offer was made by someone I had met when I first raced in MG’s back in 2012 and it was my first venture into the world of ‘professional’ racing. What was incredible was just how many doors simply competing in that race opened for me over the next year or so and it was really the moment that pushed my racing from an expensive hobby into a potential career.

How do you relax after a busy race weekend?

I always like to take the Monday after a race weekend off. I won’t go to the gym or book myself in for any instructing/coaching work. I’ll give myself a small lie-in and maybe take the family dog, Dexter, for a walk before just relaxing at home, usually with video games. It’s back to normal on Tuesday though, I can’t afford to rest for too long, otherwise I’ll quickly fall behind the competition.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I see myself standing on top of the podium having just won the Le Mans 24 hours!