Great British race off! Paul Hollywood to race in British GT at Donington Park this weekend
TV baker Paul Hollywood, one of the stars of BBC hit show The Great British Bake Off, will swap oven mitts for racing gloves at Donington Park this weekend (10-11 September), as he gets behind the wheel of an Aston Martin GT4 car in the British GT Championship season finale.
Hollywood races for the Beechdean Motorsport team in the series alongside female racer Jamie Chadwick, and made his championship debut at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium in July. He has points on the board already courtesy of an impressive showing last time out at Snetterton with a sixth place finish, and admits he’s revelling in his motorsport experience.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my racing so far in the British GT Championship,” he commented. “It’s very tough and it’s been a steep learning curve. Has it been more challenging than I expected? Yes, and then some! There’s things that people don’t think about, like when you get in the car you don’t realise just how claustrophobic they are. Then of course when you’re wearing all the kit and have things like the HANS [Head and Neck Safety] device and all the window netting and the harness, so it gets very hot inside the car. But it’s great fun and a great challenge.”
Hollywood is a keen motorsport fan, and although he has yet to experience competitive driving at Donington, he does have a special memory as a spectator at the circuit: “I’ve never raced at Donington before, but I was there for the European Grand Prix in 1993. I think it was one of the wettest Grands Prix on record with the most amount of tyre changes. Ayrton Senna overtook all the cars on the first lap and I was stood at the top of the hill watching the racing with a black bin liner over my face with holes in so I could see out! Donington is a great track and I can’t wait to drive it this weekend.”
The race this weekend is a two hour contest, and Hollywood is focussed on making it to the chequered flag: “Just finishing the race on Sunday would be great. Snetterton last time out was a good one and more of the same at Donington Park would be ideal. Our sources say qualifying on Saturday could be wet so that may be an added challenge, but Sunday should be dry.”
When asked what the perfect recipe was for any driver looking to break into motorsport, Hollywood advised: “The recipe for success for a racing driver is firstly to have a good ear, you need to be able to listen. You also need patience and have an ambition to do better. It’s very difficult to be a racing driver and you must be receptive and have a lot of ambition, and above all, practice, practice, practice!”
The British GT Championship at Donington Park this weekend will feature an open paddock, meaning fans get close to the teams and drivers, as well as obtaining those all-important autographs! Champions will be crowned in British GT as well as the BRDC British F3 Championship, with plenty of support racing from sports and saloon cars. There will also be off track family fun in the form of trampolines, giant Scalextric sets and simulators.
To see Paul Hollywood in action at Donington Park in the British GT Championship this weekend, spectators can book tickets in advance and save money on the gate prices by clicking here. Advance tickets are priced from £12 and are available until 5pm today (Wednesday 7 September). Tickets can also be purchased upon arrival at the circuit during the event, priced from £15.