Derek DeBoer has become a mainstay in Pirelli GT4 America competition with TRG over the past few seasons and has expanded his brand with Fastlife: a behind-the-scenes reality show of his life and racing career.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, DeBoer reflects on the season to date, looks ahead to racing at his home track in Portland, and updates us on the current season of Fastlife.
How would you assess your season so far?
“I’m pleased with the way 2019 is going, particularly with the new Cayman from Porsche.
“I guess it’s no surprise that a company like Porsche has really done their homework and came up with a turn-key package that has been super competitive right out of the box.
“Also being my sixth season with TRG, things are very familiar and it all feels like home. Its really nice to have the relationships and committed support from Passtime GPS, LaSalle Solutions and BRM Chronographes.
“Those three have been a part of this with myself and TRG since my beginnings there. Its a great feeling to have that kind of continuity. My role is different, though, and that has taken some adjusting.
“I’ve driven with Sean Gibbons before and we’ve always gotten along and performed really well together.
“We are doing the SprintX East Championship together and are actually leading in points for our class right now so I’ll definitely take that and am super excited for our remaining rounds at Watkins Glen and Road America.
“My role as co-driver and driver coach with Dr. Jim Rappaport in the Sprint X West Championship is a new one and has required a shift in mindset. I’m enjoying it and it is definitely growing me as a driver.
“Dr. Jim is an awesome person so its great spending time with him this season and with fingers crossed (joking of course) I hope that he’s not only having a blast living his dream, but also growing as a driver.
“I see it and we’re currently 3rd in class with the big hometown Portland race and Vegas finale ahead. I’m really looking forward to finishing strong!”
What has been the highlight of your season in your eyes?
“Capturing pole position at Laguna Seca this year was a definite highlight. As I referenced earlier, being in the co-driver/ coach role I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform during my windows of opportunity in the car.
“It felt really good to get the most out of that moment!”
What is the significance of racing in your home state at Portland International Raceway?
“Theres just something about PIR that feels really important. We need more professional sports in the Northwest and events like the G.I. Joe’s 200 were a big part of that.
“GT4 America’s return is great and I want to do whatever I can to keep this venue on the map.
“Not so much because I’ve raced there a ton: in fact I’ve only run a Formula Renault race, done some testing here and there, and last year’s World Challenge event there. But Portland is a great city and there are a lot of people there that have loved racing in the past.
“I hope that they’ll come see the show and have passed that motorsports passion on down their family lines. My original dream in racing was to be an IndyCar driver and I’m sure that it was my childhood experiences at PIR that planted that seed.
“It’s important, especially when we’re young to see things to strive for. Without that we wouldn’t have dreams to go chase.”
“As for our upcoming races there, we have a few pretty cool things going on. There is a sweepstakes you can enter for a VIP race weekend and also a way to purchase discounted tickets.
“Both links are available at www.fastlife.tv or you can text the word FAST to 31279. Both routes will get the job done!”
Do you have any memories of races at Portland from when you were young? If so, what are they?
“PIR is definitely filled with memories. Watching my ChampCar and IndyCar heroes during the era of the G.I. Joe’s 200 is certainly one of them.
“My dad would take me up for the races when I was young and I’m sure thats part of what ignited my love for the sport. I later followed suit and started taking my wife and daughters up for the ChampCar and IMSA races as well.
“I specifically remember a time with some college friends that were huge Emerson Fittipaldi fans that had invited me to join them, I’m guessing it was around 1995.
“We were standing just before the cars enter Turn 4 and I remember stating to all of them that this is what I always wanted to do and they can come watch me out there some day.
“Its strange when that stuff actually works out! I’ve lost touch with that group but know they had a love for racing: maybe they’ll read this and make it out to PIR this July!”
Could you provide an update on the Fastlife show? How is filming coming this season? Where can fans find it?
“Thanks for asking! Fastlife is a very important project for my wife, daughters, and myself.
“It really started because my wife Brooke, the filmmaker, saw what a unique and really pretty crazy world racing is and she knew more people would enjoy getting a chance to see behind the curtains.
“She also saw a different passion for the sport overseas and felt that a different view such as this might help create new motorsports fans out of people that otherwise might not give our sport a second look.
“As my path and story in racing moved forward, the family aspect came in and is one of the aspects that I think the most growth of the show is ultimately going to come from.
“The other important view is the perspective of chasing your dreams. I would not be racing today if Brooke hadn’t asked that pointed question one night in 1998.
“She said, ‘What dream have you not yet chased that I need to know about?’
“And that was it, here we are! You can find two seasons (20 episodes) on Amazon Prime and Tubi, but we are currently changing it up a bit and growing the YouTube side.
“A lot of our fans and followers are asking for more frequent content and the YouTube platform better serves that model.
“The easiest way to learn more and find all of our social media links, where to watch, purchase swag, etc. It’s all right on our website: www.fastlife.tv
“To survive on YouTube we need more subscribers, so we hope people will check it out and subscribe. Our biggest wins are when we get feedback from a fan who has had a positive change in their life and lets us know that we were a part of that.
“As we keep putting ourselves out there, all five of us chasing our individual dreams and hoping that encourages others, we couldn’t ask for more. Making positive change is the ultimate compliment!”