In 2014 we began a partnership with our very own tame racing driver, Chris Dymond.
Being fast for a living means it’s never easy to catch up with Chris, but recently I managed to spin around a few laps of the wet and windy Silverstone F1 circuit with him. Whilst there I quizzed him on just what it takes to make it as a tame race driver.
The Spin Q&A with Chris Dymond
Please tell us who you are?
Hello, my name is
Chris Dymond, I’m 27 and a professional racing driver, driver coach and in car camera
I’ve been racing for
over 20 years and climbed the ladder from grass roots club level karting
through British, European and world championships, then back to the grass
roots but in car racing before progressing through my now professional career
having worked for manufacturers such as Ascari, Jaguar and Alpina, racing
everything from Ferraris to Porsches, sports prototypes and all things in
between. Endurance racing is my thing. Think Le Mans 24hrs – those are the cars I
What was it that
got you into racing cars?
Unlike a lot of my school friends I didn’t grow up in a football family – something I think my old man now regrets! He actually raced
Hovercraft but I only have hazy memories of that. But the F1 was on TV for every Grand Prix, so I guess it stems from
Living a stone’s throw from Silverstone too no doubt had something to do
with it. My Birthday being in July always tied in with the British GP, so we’d have
the red arrows flying over the house during their display and you can hear the cars
from the garden, so it was a big event my birthday!
When I was 6 or 7 though I was
put in a go kart and that was it! It’s all I’ve ever done or wanted to do since!
What was it that
got you into riding your bike?
I’ve always been active. We didn’t have games consoles, so outside, running around it was. I was on the cross country team at school. But as my driving started to get more professional, moving through the classes and actually realising I had a chance of making this my job, the cars became more physical to drive so a basic level of fitness wasn’t enough.
Years prior, whilst
competing in a cross country race I badly injured my knee, twisting it 3/8”
inch off centre, eventually wearing away the back of my knee cap. This hurt! Especially
when running, so that was out as a fitness builder. That’s when I turned my
attention to cycling, and I’m glad I did because it’s much more fun and a damn sight
faster! Just this morning I was out on my bike and so nearly got to 50mph
(48mph) which is what it’s all about!
Who is your
favourite bike racer of all time and why?
Literally no idea. I
went to school with Ian Stannard and now he’s part of the super team Sky – a far
cry from copying each other’s Maths homework. So I guess I’ll fly the flag for him. But I don’t really know enough about other riders to say. Bradley Wiggins speaks his
mind so that’s quite cool, and then the guys that do races like Paris Roubaix: that’s hardcore and they get my admiration.
Who is your
favourite race driver and why?
This one I know: Jackie Ickx, the first “Mr Le Mans”. For me he is a true racing driver. He won Le Mans
6 times across two eras that were very different. First in the late 70’s with cars that
were fragile and needed to be looked after. Then in the 80’s when it was all
about power and speed he clocked up a load more wins. Add that to the F1 career
he had going, twice a runner up in the World drivers championship for two
different teams, 8 GP wins, the 1979 Can Am title, Bathurst 1000km,
World Endurance champion. And then he won the Dakar Rally. Anything he got in he simply drove the wheels off and generally won.
I always used to imagine that I was Eddy Merckx when riding and racing as a kid, and sometimes I still do! So when you’re out riding
your bike Chris, who do you pretend to be?
Myself and I’m going
absolutely balls out! Sometimes though, up a hill I think I’m climbing a
magnificent mountain stage or something and congratulate myself when I get to the
top. But that’s more an ego thing.
racing cars, inside your mind, who do you think you are?
Myself: I’m driving
absolutely flat out. No point pretending to be anyone else – they’re all slower anyway!
Chris, how do you become
a tame racing driver?
It’s not easy. It was
a very long road. But I never gave up and it paid off. But whilst I am now somewhat
domesticated, I can still be quite feral!
What do you like
most about working with Spin?
Spin is run by great
people, we get on really well and their products simply talk for themselves. So many other cycling companies seem to be preoccupied with PR smoke and mirrors I
really think they struggle to believe their own words and desperately try to carry
that over to everyone else. None of that with Drew. He’s confident in his own product, and confident in the brand. That’s a winning formula – and I like to be part of
Where do you want
your car / bike / sport to take you? Or put another way, where do you want to
take your bike?
I want to win Le Mans – it’s the race I’ve aspired to my entire racing life. It’s the race that
caught my imagination as a kid and it’s the only thing missing from my CV that I
care about. I’ve won championships and won lots of races, but I would trade it
all for a win at Le Mans.
from racing, what else is there?
As I mentioned already, a bit of a side venture for me is that I design, manufacture and
retail my own range of in-car camera mounts, now used by some of the biggest
and best manufacturers and automotive magazines in the world. I’m quite proud to say that Headrest Mount was voted one of top 20 best aftermarket products of 2014 by Auto Express magazine and was given an editor’s choice award.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our annoying questions Chris, and we wish you every success both on the race track and in all those duathlons
You can follow all of Chris’s driving exploits at chrisdymond.co.uk and for the best in-car camera mounts head over to headrestmount.co.uk