Motor Sport Muse by Connie Ann Kirk

Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. is a writer living in upstate New York. She has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1, credentialed by NASCAR and IndyCar for its races, and by historic / vintage entities like SVRA and Goodwood to write about their events in the U.S. and U.K.. Connie is working on a book about racers and racing. She created, writes, and maintains Motor Sport Muse as a not-for-profit online column / blog and bulletin board for participants, fans, and enthusiasts in the motor sport community and other interested readers. Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Actor Hugh Grant talks racing on "Live With Kelly & Michael"


Some fans of historic/vintage motor racing may know that actors are, just like people in any other profession, drawn to the sport.  Though perhaps not as well known around the racing scene as a McQueen, a Newman, or even a Dempsey, British actor Hugh Grant, 54, is one of the internationally known thespians of late to take his chances behind the wheel of a race car.

Wednesday morning, February 11, 2015, Grant was in New York to promote the U.S. release of his film, The Rewrite.  Grant has starred in such movies as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994); Notting Hill (1999); and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001). 

On Wednesday, he appeared on the morning talk show, Live With Kelly & Michael, to talk about The Rewrite.  Before they got to that, though, Michael Strahan asked him about his hobby -- racing cars.

Strahan wanted to know how much racing Grant has done, how many races, and has he been successful.

"I had a lot of training," replied Grant.  "And then I finally plucked up my car and did my first little series of races in Sweden last year.  I came in last, second last, and miles, miles last."

Kelly Ripa commented that it was perhaps good that he was not so competitive in the races, since he has children, and he needs to stay safe for them and not crash.

"You would think that," Grant said, "but I still manage to crash quite badly."  He continued with his dead-pan humorous description, "It’s an extraordinary sport.  It’s basically half an hour of middle-aged men trying to kill each other."
 
Stahan asked how fast they go.
 
"Pretty fast, down the straight," Grant said. "About 170 miles an hour or something."  The show's hosts and the audience were impressed with the speed.
 
 He continued, describing a bit more what the experience feels like to him.
 
"And you’re so miserable while you’re doing it," he said.  "You’re strapped in; everything hurts.  Sweat is pouring off of you.  You’re thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?  He’s trying to kill me.’  And then you get out at the end and feel kind of manly.  It’s very strange."
 
A funny way to describe racing -- but how true is it, and how many male racers do you know who admit to the discomfort in the car, as well as to their "manly" feelings afterwards?  Ha!  Maybe it takes a "charming" comedic actor, known for his roles in romantic comedies, to give spectators the real scoop about racing?  (or maybe he hasn't raced enough yet to find out the other pleasures of the sport?!).

Feel free to add your thoughts in the Comment section below!
 
Here is a link on YouTube to the interview.

Have fun on the track, Hugh -- maybe we'll see you around!

[Also fun to hear that Grant's movie The Rewrite is set at my college alma mater -- even in the English Dept. of -- Binghamton University!  Hope I can find a way to see the movie sometime!].
 
 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Destiny Racing USA, 2015 Schedule

Bulletin Board post:

Destiny Racing USA sends their schedule for 2015.  Posting it below for interested racers or especially for people on a budget who might be thinking about getting into historic/vintage racing for the first time, or who just want to try it with a low commitment, just to see what it's all about.

Tom Fitzgerald is the owner of his family business, Destiny Racing USA.  Tom is a friendly mechanic, owner/racer, and instructor from the Watkins Glen area.  He has cars for rent and track-side support at some of the most well-known tracks in the USA (see schedule below) where you can race them. (Note: if you are new to the sport, you will likely need racing lessons and certain other qualifications in order to join the competition events on the track). 

If you are a novice, my guess is that Tom will make you feel comfortable, not pressured.  If you have raced before, if you are an owner/racer, etc. but your cars are elsewhere and you don't want to take on the expense of hauling them to an event, he has some cars available to choose from that you might rent and race instead. 

Tom's company has headquarters in the Watkins Glen region (Geneva, NY) as well as at Sebring in Florida, so his racing season goes year-round.  See the schedules below for his contact information and events his company could help you participate in this racing season.  Enjoy!