Adam Christodoulou began his racing career in karting in Britain.Over 150 races over a 10 year career, with a 97.06% finishing rate.
3 Championship Wins: The F. Renault British Champion (2008), the Star Mazda American Champion (2009) and the VLN GT4 Champion (2013).
30 Career Wins: Along with 77 podium finishes (45.3% Podium finish), owner of the 2015 Fastest Race Lap at VLN Nordschleife (8:02.786) and 3 “24 Hour” race wins.
ADAM CHRISTO – RACING DRIVER INTERVIEW
Name: Adam Christodoulou
Age: To old, 27.
Car: Mercedes SL300
Race drivers: Michael Schumacher, John Surtees
How and when did you start? I started when i was just seven years old, for my seventh birthday my dad bought me my first helmet and Go-Kart, we went testing at my local Kart track, called Chase Water, it was about 15 minutes from my house and only a 30 second lap, my dad use to race there when he was in his teenage years. To be honest at the age of 7, and after half a years testing most Saturdays i lost a little bit of interest. At that age all i wanted to go and play with all my mates, but as soon as i turned 8 years old, and got my competition license i completed my first race at Shennington kart club, I won my first Novice trophy and finished 6th overall and as they say “the rest was history”. I wanted to race the very next day, and the next weekends race couldn’t arrive fast enough. It was the competition that really hooked me.
What is the car you have had the most fun while driving? Race or street car? Its got to be the race car, you can’t beat just having the freedom for man and machine to drive as fast as you can on the edge of control. To be honest you cant really relate the two, on the road i get more satisfaction out of driving some of the classic cars than the modern cars, maybe because even to do the modern speed limit in a classic car you have to push it more. I have a track day car with dual control which i teach in, its a 200bhp Renault Clio Sport with racing brakes and tyres on, you’d be amazed at how fast it goes, this is a fun little toy, and the perfect car for teaching even experienced drivers in. The slower the car generally the more rewarding and easier to push my clients to the limit of the car to accelerate their learning curve.
At what point did you know racing was going to be more than just a hobby for you? I’m not quite sure, maybe when i was 11 years old, of course like most drivers i had a dream to make it to F1, i suppose everyone thinks at a young age all you have to do is be the fastest and win to make it, maybe it was when i won my first british championship then i thought this is the first stages of getting to the top. As you get older then you realise its not just about pure speed that will take you to the top but also being the full package, you have to be representable, fast of course, gather sponsorship, and be humble with the opportunity that you’ve been given. I know i was extremely lucky to be supported by my dad during my early years, he was a great teacher and my hero, he still is, even now i still turn to him for advice.
Who is your favourite childhood race car driver? Maybe someone who inspired you to want to be a driver too. When i was younger it would have to be Michael Schumacher, he was winning everything, so of course you think “thats where i want to be when I’m older”. Another hero of mine was someone that i was lucky enough to know. John Surtees, and his son Henry, we both raced together, and often shared equipment.
When you were younger did you do any other sports? As a kid my cousins and i shared a horse that my nan had, but as soon as i was 7 i swapped horse for horse power, as a kid i was just into everything, but as soon as i started karting we were flat out for 48 weekends a year, where ever we could race. I’m probably doing more sports now compared to when i was a kid, I’ve been doing a bit of running and cycling, when the weather allows, and i’ve taken up skiing the last 4 years, its one of the only thinks i get the same adrenalin buzz from as racing, probably due to being on the edge of being out of control half the time.
Could you give some racing tips? Don’t rush to move up in the categories before you’re ready, complete what you’ve started, learn to win races and fight for championships, i was lucky enough that Louis Di Resta, (Father of Paul Di Resta, DTM Driver and Ex-F1 driver) advised my dad to keep me in the Comer Cadet class, Age 8-12 for the final year, I’d finished 6th the year before, but he said you have to learn to deal with the pressures of winning races and championships, and it was probably the best advice we was given, for the sake of the extra year in the end i went on to win 7 british Karting championships and finished 2nd in the Junior Rotax world finals, i see the mistake so many times of people move up before there ready.
Who’s been the most influential person in your racing career? It’s got to be my dad, he taught me all the basics, He was my engineer, my Cousin Jamie was my Mechanic and i was the driver, between the three of us we were pretty unstoppable. Once i moved into cars then my dad realised he had to step back a bit as it was beyond his experience. I think during all of my karting career and the first two years of cars he might have missed all of five races, and when i made the decision to race in america i saw his heart sink as he realised he wouldn’t be able to make a lot of the races, thankfully he was able to make the important ones, like the final round when we won the American Star Mazda championship, and when i competed in my First ever 24 hours race at Daytona, he’s extremely switched on, he comes to all my big races fully equipped with iPads, with all the timings on, notes for strategy, everything, he loves it.
Are there certain techniques you have used to develop your racing skills or do you just have natural ability? We all have to continue developing our skills or you forget them, i’m lucky enough that i do lots of teaching in and out of the car, so I’m constantly in a car, weather its setting a base line lap time or fine tuning someones driving, I use a local airfield which i hire semi exclusive to train all my clients. I’ve been lucky enough to work at Silverstone driver school for many years so this meant it was in the car a lot learning how other people driver, its pretty amazing what you can pick up from other people driving too.
What do you like to do when you’re not racing? When I’m not racing i generally preparing myself for my next event, weather its for my own race or one of my clients races. I’ve just started doing a little bit of engineering for a small team i use to race for. I’m at a track most weekends, If I’m not racing myself i get a lot of satisfaction if one of my drivers are doing well, i’ve got customers that have raced for many years and some that i’ve trained up from scratch so i’ve been able to mould them into a competitive driver from the start. I try and train when i can, I’ve taken up running over the last year, and i also go to my local hot yoga classes as my back has taken a lot of punishment over the years. Then on the rare occasion where theres no racing then i like to take the time so see some of my mates and have a good catch up.
Describe your best experience? The most recent one has got to be winning the Nurburgring 24 hours, this victory was just a dream come true, to just finish a 24 hours is a challenge in itself, but with 170 cars on track, on the most challenging track in the world, and grabbing the lead on the last lap just blew my mind, it was something that you couldn’t have written, we won it by 6 seconds, making it the closest ever Nurburgring 24 hours finish in history. Every win is special, but this one was just something else, it took a week for my voice to recover. It’s not even a week away now before the Next Nurburgring 24 hours, so wish us luck, were going to try and defend our title.
Do you have to have a set diet to keep yourself fit? Basically i just try and avoid any junk foods, I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to chocolates and sweets, thats why i train so i can eat them. I just keep an eye on the portion amounts really, sometimes it can be tough to manage with all the traveling, but the teams that i race for are pretty good with supplying good food at the tracks.
Which is more important in racing – a strong upper body, lower body? Tough one, in karting it was definitely upper body and core. But in cars especially GT cars its not as bad, saying that its the heat that can drain you the more than anything, some of these cars can be up to 35c, thats like sitting in a sauna, plus you’re wearing a helmet, Fire suit, Fire proof leggings, top and socks obviously you don’t want to finish a race completely fatigued otherwise you’ll make mistakes, so its important to have a good general fitness, you’ll be surprised, some cars can pull 3G, so to put that in prospective, taking rough averages, your head weighs 5kg, plus a 2kg helmet, when your hitting 3G, thats 21kg on your neck, now imagine that every few seconds for up to a 3 hour stint. In a Single seater its even more important to have core and upper body strength, a lot of the single seater categories don’t have power steering and with the downforces you need to be strong, the main things single seater drivers struggle with is their neck.
Who are the sportsmen or sportswoman’s you admire the most? where do i start, there so many of them that i admire, narrowing it down to one though I’d have to say Mo Farah, he seems like one of the few Sports men that really doesn’t take his skills for granted, i’ve never met him but the impression I’ve got from on tv is that he’d do anything to help anyone, i really like his humbleness. I also like Bradley Wiggins, maybe it’s to do with how they both got the whole country going during the Olympics, as i said anyone thats at the top of their game in their sport i admire, because i can only imagine the dedication, time and effort they’ve had to put in to get there.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work? Tough one, I don’t know really, I’m trying my best to make the most of the current opportunity I’ve been given, I was lucky enough to Sign with AMG last year, and this was a real turning point for me, theres plenty of drivers that I’ve raced with before and i’m more than happy to give nay advice to them to see them do the same, i know i was lucky with a bit of timing, i was in the right place at the right time to partner up with a Deutsch business man, i taught him as much as i could on the track and he took me under his wing and we both raced together as a successful pairing, if i could do the same again i would. At the end of the day like any driver i want to race a be competitive, and make an honest living from it.
What is your aim this year in racing? Well were going to try our best to Win the Nurburgring 24 hours again next weekend, then do the same for all the other races during the rest of the year, Including the Spa 24 hours. I’ve build up a pretty good reputation in Germany up at the Nurburgring and now I’m just trying to do the same in the rest of Europe, and America, I was lucky enough to go back and race in the Daytona 24 hours again at the start of this year where we finished 3rd, so hopefully ill get invited back to do the same again next year.
Define KLASSIK MAGAZINE for the audience? Very cool, charm and elegant!