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Rob Austin Bio
The man, the passion, the history
Early day, Renault 5′s and Formula 3!
When I was young my dad used to race Renault 5′s and to be honest I spent most of my time at his meetings riding around the paddock on the teams moped called “queasy rider”! When I was about ten dad started taking my constant requests to go racing more seriously, then after a bit of indoor karting and some practice in a proper kart I competed in my first national championship and finished 6th in my first year. The second year I finished second but would have won had it not been for a failure in the final round (always the way!)
Then at 16 I started in cars, again I finished second, this time due to failing a noise test at the final round and having to start last with a ten second penalty resulted in me reaching seventh in the race……I needed sixth to take the title (as I said, always the way!) I did however become the youngest ever winner of a national level motor race and won the Graham Hill award for most promising up and coming British driver. A season I am proud of!
Then I went on to do two seasons of Formula Renault again finishing second in my second season to Antonio Pizzonia. But I did beat Kimi Raikkonen; some achievement in that considering where he is now!
I then broke my leg pretty badly and had to take a season out. The following year I moved up to Formula 3, now it started to get hard, with the likes of Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson, Robbie Kerr, James Courtney, Heikki Kovalainen, Fabio Carbone, Alan Van der Merwe, Adam Carroll and many more very good drivers F3 was far more competitive than it is at the moment, and with it being my first year, coming back from a year out, with a down on power Renault engine and the team being in their first year as well it was character building to say the least!
Ginetta’s and becoming Team Owner
We stuck at it and I learned most of what I know from those years in F3! We won races, had fastest laps, pole positions and ran as high as second in the championship. But just when it was all coming together and I was on the last bit of money I broke my hand playing rugby, ran out of money and haven’t completed a full season’s racing since. Instead I have done bits and pieces here and there…
I did a couple of races in the seat Cupra championship, Ginettas which I fell in love with and a couple of F3 races again last year where I got two fastest laps, led a race (until the track dried…. always the way!) and had a podium result. All of which I was very proud to achieve considering my lack of running that year (it was late in the season as well) and the fact that the Ginetta races clashed so it was a case of hopping out of the Ginetta and straight in to the F3! Great fun!
When I ran out of funding I needed an income, so I started instructing Stephen Jelley in Formula 3 and the instructing went from there really. In 2004 I did a day in a two seat race car with Steve, seeing how much it benefited him not only surprised me but it’s what inspired me to get a car and offer instruction.
That car was a Ginetta G20 and, after being pretty successful, providing instruction for a living just wasn’t enough. It’s the racing itself I have always loved on and off the track, so I needed something that would involve me more at race weekends. Starting a race team was something I had often considered so it was the natural move.
Now I have the best of both worlds, I still get to instruct and work with drivers to get up the grid. Plus I have a great freebie to throw in that no other team has.
Rob is combining his Audi driving duties in the British Touring Car Championship with a cameo appearance in the Hollywood drama being made about the epic and near-tragic struggle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda for Formula One’s 1976 world crown.
Provisionally entitled Rush, the movie includes the chilling scene when Lauda crashes in flames …Read more →
What can I say? A Cosworth DFV, a bright sunny day in Monaco (well, until the rain came down) and the enigmatic Surtees making the most of this iconic Grand Prix circuit. Being part of Historic F1 is such a great thing on so many levels but it’s when you get to re-live the glory …Read more →