10th July 2019
Abracs Back Student Alex Baldwin to fulfil his motorsport dream
Abracs recently backed student Alex Baldwin in his pursuit to compete in his first ever Motorsport race as part of his upcoming documentary!
Speaking about the project Alex said “For our 3rd-year university project on my TV production course, we had to produce a 20-minute piece. I decided I wanted to create a documentary about my journey in motorsport, showing all of the tasks I had to complete to achieve this goal of taking part in my first ever motor race. We had over 25 shoot dates, It was an exciting process and I am very happy with the final result!”
“I needed to get the support of companies to ensure this project went ahead. Even though I was racing at a club level, motorsport is still somewhat expensive. I had a goal for the amount needed from sponsors and I sent out a number of emails to companies I knew had an interest in motorsport. Thankfully Abracs were very generous and supported me on my journey into motorsport. Without them, this project would not have been possible. Thanks to my sponsors I was able to live out a dream and I am very thankful for their support.”
Alex kindly answered a few questions about his experience from the desk to the track…
Where does your passion for racing come from? I started watching F1 on TV with my Dad in the early 2000’s and a few years later we went to the British GT at Brands Hatch and from that moment onwards I fell in love with the sport. We have been to hundreds of events since and the passion for the sport never left me. It has always been a dream to be involved with motorsports and thanks to my YouTube channel I have had some great opportunities to visit big events in F1, WEC, BTCC and DTM. I am very thankful for these as they allowed me even closer to the sport I love… But, one thing was left uncompleted, to take part in a race myself!
Why did you decide that becoming a racing driver would be a great topic for a documentary? I was sitting in a hotel room contemplating what on earth I would do for my final major project at University and it hit me. What is my main passion? Motorsport… I had the idea that I could make a documentary about me taking part in my first ever motor race, but at that stage, I never really thought about how it would happen! I knew that I had to create a documentary about something I love and motorsport was that. But I never expected it to come to light as there were so many possible problems along the way!
What have been the biggest challenges in becoming a racing driver? I was told throughout that the race license was “easy” as long as you were methodical. It was the first thing we actually filmed and I had built it up to more than it was and I was very nervous about it. That was a challenge mentally as I was thinking about passing that along with trying to plan the documentary, I got there, but that certainly was tough in the moment. The first time I stepped in a race car was a surreal experience and it took a number of track days to really feel at home as it is so different from driving a car on the road. I had some great advice from professional race drivers which allowed me to prepare mentally, but building up to a competitive race speed was tough, especially as I was so inexperienced!
What have you enjoyed most about the experience? Racing the car was a fantastic experience, but I would also say the great people I met along the way and the amazing donators and sponsors who ensured it happened, was also a part of this journey I really enjoyed. Without these people and the production team, I would not have been able to put this project together. I will appreciate these people forever, as they allowed me to live out my childhood dream! The buzz you get from racing a car is something that is very hard to describe, but continually pushing yourself to go faster and find improvements, is something I loved about this journey.
Please describe your first race weekend and the feeling as you sat on the grid ahead of the start? Sadly the first race did not go to plan and the car broke on the first driver (It was an endurance race with two drivers), so I never got to race. For the second race (and my first actual race) I took the grid which added the pressure. I had very little time in the car as the deal had all gone through last minute due to the issues with the first car. The second race weekend was actually less stressful as I had gone through all of the emotions in the first one before the car broke before I got to drive it. I went into this second race with a much calmer mindset and it allowed me to focus on driving a lot more. I took it steady in qualifying to ensure I got the minimum number of laps in to qualify me. Going into the race I sat on the grid with a lot of nerves as I knew this was a vital part of the race. We started 2nd in class and I knew the win was a tall order but relished the opportunity to battle and possibly go for a class win.
How did it feel to win? Things went our way in the race and the class pole-sitter had an accident on the first lap which meant we inherited the lead. It was then about ensuring I drove consistently for the race until I hand over to my teammate for the second half. It was a strange experience standing in the pit lane as Chris (my teammate) lapping around the track. After he took the win I honestly could not believe it. It was a dream to take part in my first motor race, but unbelievable to win our class! I knew we were lucky to get the win but I took it for what it was as I never expected to be in that position. A wide range of emotions went through me at the moment, but I was simply happy to have dedicated myself to my dream for 6 months and making it happen. Winning it, was simply something I still can’t really comprehend!
If there is anything else you’d like to add about your experience? I know it is hard for everyone to dedicate themselves to achieving a dream, but if you think there is a possibility to achieve yours, I think it showed me that going after your dream and doing it is something that is so rewarding. Typically, there is a way to ensure it happens, no matter how hard it may look at the start! I hope people consider what their dreams are and think about what it takes to make it happen. I am sure my dream was simpler than some others, but I wish others the best of luck if they go after something on their bucket list!
We are glad we got the opportunity to support Alex on this journey, if you would like to watch his journey the documentary is linked below…