I have to say I’m really enjoying my time here in Paris… It’s such a great city! And to be seeing it from a locals point of view is super epic too. Of course we have gone and seen most of the touristy stuff too haha, but we’ve been eating out and enjoying the night life in some really great spots that only the locals know 😉 We’ve been averaging 13km’s of walking a day, so it’s been great exercise at the same time… maybe enough to excuse me from not having trained these last few days 😉 We’ve just got back to our Airbnb after a pretty massive day out walking around Champs-Élysées followed by one of the best meals I’ve had for a long time, and we’ve just realized it’s Paris Motor Show right now… so I’m busy organizing for us to go tomorrow and see that with some of my friends at BMW 😀
So after a quick trip to Grand Prix Racewear to pick up some new gloves before the weekend, we arrived at the Paris Motor Show. I think it’s still pretty early days of the show so it wasn’t overly busy, but at the same time, there were quite a few people there, and definitely lots to see, which was great.
I’ve never attended a massive show like this, so it was great to see one of such high level first hand. We started off at BMW, before making our way around the show to see the various new cars & concept cars on display, as well as all the motorsport section which was pretty cool to show my Brother as he hasn’t seen as much of the top level motorsport stuff in person before.
Of course… as any car nut does when presented the opportunity… we dabbled in every simulator we came across during the day… mainly for me to try and embarrass everyone else giving them a go by smashing their lap times by a few seconds, and for my brother to try and beat me…. good old brotherly competition 😉
So after a hectic weekend in Spa, it was straight on a plane back to NZ for the mid season break to go soak up some of the kiwi winter & prepare for the next race late September in Hungary. There’s nothing like getting off the plane and taking your first breath of crisp fresh winter New Zealand air when you arrive… heading to Europe I take the trip pretty slow and always stay overnight in Singapore to try give myself a night that is almost perfectly in between the time zones, but on the way home I just power through that in order to get home as fast as I can, always way too excited to get home and see all my friends and family.
This trip was no different, and besides getting home and starting experiencing what can only be described as a bit of a quarter life crisis in trying to make some sense of juggling my life that seems to always be on the go, and questioning whether that’s really what I’m wanting or not, it was a as usual trip home full of fun and adventures.
Besides training, I’ve been playing around with video making and editing to get a hang of things and I’m pleased to announce that in the coming weeks I’ll be launching a Vlog that will follow not only my racing, but also some of the escapades and day to day I experience in between races. This has been a pretty fun and interesting experience to play around with this and it’s made me pretty happy to finally be putting some of this stuff on film, as it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now but never had the chance / opportunity to give it a go, and ever since I bought a drone at Christmas time last year, my creativity has been steadily boosted with each time I’ve filmed something on it. So….. be prepared to some sick video’s to come.
Unbeknown to a lot of people, I actually really enjoy getting my hands dirty with some good old fashioned physical work, and my absolute favourite is when I’m doing something that eventuates in an end product that you can step back and say “I built that” or “I did that”.
The past week has been great in that sense, as me and my Mum have started to renovate our little farm cottage which was built inside of the original shearing shed on our farm from the early 1900’s. We turned half of it into a cottage to live in when I was about 11 years old, so that we could live in there while we built our house on our farm. This was quite an adventure as all 5 of us, my Mum and Dad, and older brother and sister all crammed inside a two bedroom flat for just over 2 years. For me it was very exciting and great to be so close to my family at all times given my young age, for me it was like camping or something haha…. But I think it was pretty trying at the best of times for my parents and especially my sister who spent her last two years of high school crammed in there with us, in that awkward phase of your teens where your parents are super lame and you know more than everyone else in the world combined. That being said though, we all hold some great memories from those two years living in there together, and it really made us appreciate what we have in life.
Back to the renovating though…. It’s been a hectic week stripping everything out of there, re-painting, putting in new floors, new plugs & lights, repairing drywall, and assembling the new kitchen – all of this with quite a rush, as we have some guests coming to stay in there pretty soon, and with me leaving back to Europe soon for my last two races, it’s meant we’ve been pushing to get as much done as possible. Right now we’re pretty much 90% of the way there with all the painting done, new flooring, and most of the kitchen assembled, but now we’ve gotta wait till I return from Europe as some crucial parts of the kitchen didn’t arrive in time for me to put anything up/install it. So now for the next few days I’ll spend it gearing up for my trip back to Europe for my last two races, and although only 3 weeks long, it’s set to be super fun with my Brother and his Girlfriend joining me for my whole trip! Until next time. Chris
Birthday at 32,000 ft & Singapore GP
As with most of my trips to Europe to race, the few days leading up to leaving are pretty stressful, running around trying to get everything sorted and packed without leaving anything behind or till the last minute. This trip was no different, and I also had to fly out on my birthday which was pretty lame, and marks like the 5th birthday I’ve had away from my family and friends at home…. But this feeling was pretty short lived and I was made to feel at home very soon after take-off on my first leg with the crew bringing me a piece of birthday cake & some champagne which was great. One good thing of always flying the same airline and route is that you soon come to know the staff & crew around that journey very well, which is quite cool.
Even greater than my glass of champagne and massive slice of cake which I couldn’t finish, though, was the fact that I was flying to Singapore for the night on the same weekend as the Singapore GP… and instead of getting off my flight and then chilling at the airport transit hotel for the next 22 hours, I was stoked to have a few of my friends from the F1 circus waiting for me in the city, and so after quickly getting freshened up I boosted into town to meet them, and first watched F1 qually from the Marina Bay Sands, before spending the rest of the night having awesome Mexican food & drinks at my friends restaurant Super Loco at Customs Wharf, which was epic!
I’m now waiting to board my flight to Europe & my last two races of the season… bring it on!!!
So after a very pleasant flight with another whole row to myself, and as a result sleeping for 9 hours straight instead of my usual routine of staying awake all flight so I’m tired when I arrive… I had pretty bad jet lag after arriving, and was only able to get 3 hours of sleep in before waking up wide awake at 3:30 am the next day… so I spent the morning catching up on some work on my friends couch here in Bensheim at 4:30 am Monday Morning. One of my best friends from New Zealand, Dudley, moved here just over a year ago with his girlfriend, and since Bensheim is so close to Frankfurt where I fly into each time, I get the chance to stay with him for a few nights each time I arrive and before I leave back home, which is awesome. One of the worse parts to traveling so much, (and dare I say growing up) is that you end up having friends all over the world, and never all of them in one place at the same time…. But lately it’s been pretty epic that my travels & schedule has allowed me to catch up with friends all over the place!
Besides spending most of the day being excessively tired, I managed to power through the day, squeeze in a run, get all my stuff organized for today’s trip, and even got the chance to go check out my friend Dudleys new work, where he’s busy doing a Wine Making apprenticeship, which was super cool.
The next day was spent on a 6 and a half hour train down to Salzburg, and that was followed by today, where me and one of the other drivers in my team, Caitlin, boosted down to Budapest together in a rental car – which was pretty good…. And we also took plenty of video… so that should follow shortly too! /Chris
This weekend was pretty trying I have to admit. Besides having my brother Steve with me which was epic to be able to finally have him here for one of my European races which he’s never been able to come to. For probably my favourite track I’ve ever raced at, after having such great success here 4 years ago in my first every Euro F3 race, it wasn’t as good a weekend as I’d hoped for. We struggled all weekend with set up, and then I struggled again in both races again with the common trend of this season – which in every race, as a driver, you have to make a decision fairly soon into your stint, whether to race…. Or to find a clear running space to pump out fast laps to score points for the internal championship going on within our team… and for me as a racer, I am never able to commit properly to the absolute ridiculous notion of slowing down, letting cars pass you etc…. just to find a piece of clear running space and then going quick again.
To me the point’s system our team put in place for the series creates a massive of conflict of interest, and defies the point of racing. Basically how it’s set up means that you don’t get any points for qualifying position, or finishing position of the races. Instead each driver is ranked in order of the average of their 5 fastest race laps… which basically means when you’re running in a championship with multiple different manufacturers and BOP’s (Balance of Performance) – you end up having to engage in some pretty full on battles with other cars throughout the races, mainly for us defending for overtakes on the straights where we lack top speed, and then having to take gaps and pass in the high risk areas of the circuit, braking zones and turns, where we are at an advantage to the other cars. While all of this is great…. It means that if you’re battling a Porsche or Maserati for the lead of the race each lap, you’re going consistently slower than some punter in 10th place, who is all alone on the track, and is able to go consistently slightly quicker than you in clear running space.
That isn’t racing, and I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated it makes me having to try to do one or the other, and I always end up unable to commit to one option, and end up trying to do both, which ends up with me doing a poor job either way. I still to this moment in the season don’t understand the stupidity in the points system. How it is now is basically time trials all weekend, and theoretically, one could fart around all weekend in practice and qually to save your tyres for the race, start right at the back, avoid all the risk & potential contacts of a race in the opening laps, and then pump out 5 quick laps at the back, and be declared the winner… it’s quite frankly a joke.
Racing to me, is the competition between drivers to race, and to be the fastest. That result and title comes from multiple factors, not just going fast around a track. It’s being the fastest, and the best, in all aspects. Qualifying, Starting, Pit stops, Passing, Race Craft, Managing your Tyres…. and for me after having raced at much higher levels of motorsport to come back to such stupid rules and point system really makes me feel unmotivated.
So anyway for now, we look forward to the final race of the season in two weeks in Zandvoort, which will be really interesting. I will be going into the weekend 100% with my usual way of driving, giving everything I have right till the chequered flag.
After a very tough and stressful weekend, it was fantastic to head back down to the South of France with my brother, and meet up with his Girlfriend and her family in Grasse, just near Nice. Over the last few days we’ve travelled around by car, Me, my Brother Steve and his Girlfriend Jess, and her Brother Dan and his Girlfriend Cassandra.
It was awesome to be able to show them around my old home (my 6 week home haha) of Monaco, and it was perfect timing as it was the same week as the annual Monaco Yacht Show, so with plenty of impressive things to see, it made for a great day trip before heading back to Grasse to do what us South Africans do best, braai (Barbeque).
The next day we said goodbye to the rest of Jess’s Family, and Me Steve and Her travelled to a little ancient fortified town, Saint Paul Devence… which I have to say, was one of the coolest places I have ever had the pleasure to experience. We stayed in the very heart of the old town in an Airbnb, and enjoyed a very relaxed evening drinking red wine and enjoying the French cuisine, well into the early hours of the morning….. and I know what you’re thinking… not the usual story for a racing driver mid season…. But hey… when on holiday 😉
We culminated our time in the Cote D’Azur in Nice for the last two nights taking it fairly slowly, as per holiday guidelines… and we’re now heading up to Paris by train for the next 4 nights… for me anyway. Steve and Jess are meeting me in Amsterdam two days later, where as I leave on Wednesday next week. So for now we’re looking forward to spending some time in a big city, and one especially as beautiful as Paris. Me and my Brother haven’t been there for about 14 years…. Whereas Jess was recently living there, so we’re looking forward to having our very own guide to show us the sides you don’t experience as a tourist J