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Racers in Isolation: Harry Tincknell

Harry Tincknell on raising money for the UK’s National Health Service, his new sim racing fix and airline miles…

Photo: Harry Tincknell

Sportscar365’s Racers in Isolation series continues as we check in with drivers across the globe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This time it’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mazda Motorsports driver Harry Tincknell (Twitter/Instagram).

Where are you sitting out the COVID-19 crisis?

In my flat in Putney, London.

Southwest London is very green with many parks so I’ve got plenty of running routes now the weather has turned for the better, which is slightly typical!

Myself and a group of British drivers ran a solo half marathon and we managed to raise £32,000 for our National Health Service which is amazing!

What have been some of the challenges of staying at home for you?

One of the big challenges I’m finding, and it’s the same for many people I think, is that we don’t have an end date where everything goes back to normal.

It’s quite hard trying to go about our days but not knowing if this is going to be the case for another week, another month…

In terms of day to day living, I’m quite pragmatic. There’s nothing we can do other than stay as fit and as sharp as possible and I’m just trying to make the most of the downtime.

Do you do sim racing?

I actually got my simulator just before the lockdown happened. I was on a training camp with Aston Martin Racing and fellow factory driver Charlie Eastwood has a business selling high-level simulators so after chatting about it on the camp I decided to buy one.’

That was a good decision!

I’m mainly using iRacing but I also have rFactor. I’m racing in the IMSA esports series as well as the F3 Isolation Trophy and Redline series on iRacing and the All Stars Trophy on rFactor so I’ve jumped straight in at the deep end!

All those races are streamed live on YouTube and on some sports channels too so it’s getting some great coverage. I did feel at the start like I was having to re-learn a lot of technique but it’s amazing how quickly you get up to speed and start competing at the sharp end.

What is your daily driver? 

My daily driver right now is a Mazda CX-5, which is a great all-round car with plenty of boot space for my golf clubs!

My dream car is Pagani Zonda F; it just oozes style. I am very lucky to have a 2017 Ford GT so I already have a dream car if I’m honest!

Approximately how many airline miles have you flown since the start of your racing career?

It’s funny you asked this because I started tracking my flights last year. My app says last year I did 61 flights with a total of 161,000 miles equivalent to 15 days in the air!

I’ve been operating at that sort of mileage for the past 4 years with Multimatic programs, which brings me up to 600,000 miles or so in total since I started racing internationally. Since karting in 2005 I’m going to guess about 1.2 million miles.

What was your first job?

I’ve never had a “proper” job. Hopefully, I can keep that up for a few years yet haha!

In 2014 after I won Le Mans in LMP2 with a Nissan engine I went and worked for three weeks on their GT Academy competition as an instructor to try and get closer to the brand in the hope of becoming part of their upcoming LMP1 program. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration in the sport

Mika Hakkinen was always my hero from when I was a little boy watching F1. I met him in Macau which was awesome as they say never meet your heroes but he was a super cool dude.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without Allan McNish. He’s been managing me since 2008 and I’ve had a tip or two off him since then.

What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to the first day you return to a race track

I’m looking forward to the atmosphere and anticipation of a race weekend. The buzz from the fans, sounds, and smells of the race cars and the banter with my teammates and mechanics.

But to coin a phrase from my previous Multimatic program, I’m most looking forward to just “Going like hell”.

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