Today we have a special feature and a first for Two Wheels Or More…..an exclusive interview. My first ever interview is 15 year-old BARC Junior Saloon Car Championship driver Jack Fabby. Those who watch British circuit racing news know that Fabby has been touted for an impressive future. He has signed to race for Jade Developments in the Clio Series but has to wait until he turns sixteen later in the year to do so. In the meantime he is racing a Citroen Saxo built by his father in order to hone his craft with the stiff competition of a one-make series. What I can tell is that Jack has a fantastic family unit supporting him. Both parents raced in karting and cars and have used their experience to help nurture his career and although there’s been the odd hiccup along the way (which left Jack without a drive for the second part of the 2014 while his own car was built by his father) it’s clear they are all a little wiser for the experience. Jack harbours an ambition to race at Le Mans (preferably as the youngest ever driver) which is refreshing considering the number of young drivers who just want to be an F1 champion. He’ll have to get a move on though as the records is 16 years and 203 days by Matt McMurry last year.
I would like to thank Jack for the interview and also the Fabby family (who I now refer to as The Fabily) for their help and support.
You’ve had a fast rise from leaving karting to where you are now in the Junior Saloon Car Championship. What has been the toughest challenge so far?
Making the decision to stop racing part way through the 2014 season was the hardest! I had only just started in cars but it was quickly evident that to continue with that particular team would be detrimental to the rest of my season. Initially signing with that team on an arrive & drive basis seemed great but all was not as it seemed. We lost a lot of money & sponsorship which was hard but going forward we will be more careful in who we deal with. It’s really important to do your homework first and to draw up contracts.
You’ve had the first two races of the 2015 championship at Rockingham so did that go?
We spent the winter building our own car so Rockingham was the first real test against the competition. We had some niggling teething problems with the fuel system which were intermittent, however I was pleased with the car my Dad had built and my speed was building after so long out of the seat. The 2nd race was good, a real battle with a group and I got up to 5th before the fuel issue returned on the last lap Overall, a good weekend which showed promise for future rounds.
Apart from yourself which other young driver should we look out for in future? Who’s your biggest competition?
I want to win! So all the drivers in the Junior Saloon Car Championship are my competition. This championship is my stepping stone to the Clio Cup in September so learning the tracks and building on my driving is important for that step. Ben Colburn (Westbourne Motorsport) is looking really fast this season so he is a force to be reckoned with.
Are you looking forward to entering the Clio Cup later in the year with Jade Developments?
For sure! My focus is on the JSCC until September with some private testing of the Clio over the summer period. My Team Jade Developments are very experienced with the Clio’s and are close to Bruntingthorpe circuit so I will test there.
In a one make series like the Junior Saloon Car Championship the difference between first and last is the driver not the car. How close is the racing?
The racing is pretty close, you have drivers who have no racing experience with some who have karting experience of several years like me; this makes it exciting to watch. The front wheel drive Citroen isn’t very high powered so you have to drive to compensate for that. Keep the power up but not kill it with tight lines into corners. This year’s car is awesome, and there is much more to come from me.
I love your ambition to be the youngest driver to compete at Le Mans. If you could compete this year do you have a dream car that you would drive?
I would really like to be part of the Porsche programme, whether it be driving the 911 RSR, GT3 or driving the LMP1 918 hybrid.
What is it about the Le Mans 24 Hours that makes it your ultimate ambition?
For me it is the ultimate test of a driver, car & team. You need to be fast but sensible, conserve the car to bring it home. So the right combination of drivers, team and reliable car with I guess an element of luck!
If you could pick two current racing drivers to team up with for Le Mans who would they be?
Anthony Davidson and James Kellett.
You’ve had fantastic support from your family over the years. How essential has that been to your progression?
We are a Team for sure. I know that Mum & Dad have sacrificed a lot for me to race but we all get something out of it as a family. Okay our holidays might be at a race circuit but I get to race a car! So what could be better? They have always instilled in me that in order to continue racing you have to pace the funds, no point spending all your money on one season and have nothing left for the next.
Aside from racing at Le Mans do you see yourself in any other series in the future like the BTCC or British GT for example?
If it has wheels I will drive it! Long term I would like to compete in Endurance racing but given any opportunity I will take it. The more experience I can get the better for the future.
Are there any drivers who have influenced you or whose driving styles you’d like to emulate?
Both my mum & dad have long kart & car racing experience so obviously I am influenced from them, but they don’t overload me with it. They think it is important that I listen to my driver coach so I don’t receive conflicting information. Neither of them has raced a Saxo so they support me on the sidelines. Dad built my car and mum organises everything so I can get on with driving. I believe that the racing has strengthened my bond with my dad. We sometimes fall out but in general we have a lot of laughs! We wouldn’t do it otherwise.
I think everyone is their own person so I try to be the best I can be and that it is my style that comes through.
What was it like working with a legendary driving coach like Ray Grimes?
Working with Ray is a great experience, he has taught me a lot about racing cars and we created a good relationship between each other. Ray was one of the main reasons why I started my race car career and I hope to be able to work with Ray again in the future. He is very calm in the car which puts you at ease and he is clear in his instruction. He has been and done everything so has some amazing stories to tell. We nicknamed him Rayanory!
I noticed on Twitter that you re-tweeted the tributes to Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna and realised they died before were you were born. Are they any drivers from history who inspire you?
I have watched the Rush and Senna films along with documentaries about all the late great racing drivers and of course who wouldn’t be inspired by any of them. I like that their personalities really showed in their racing, for me Senna had something extra special.
Would you switch to single seater racing if the right opportunity arose or do you prefer saloons and sports cars?
Yes, I think the more experience you can gain in different categories the better. I haven’t had any experience yet in single seaters but I’d love to test in one.
So that’s enough of the business side, let’s finish with some more fun questions:
You’re in the pits relaxing while waiting to go out for your first stint at Le Mans – what music are you listening to?
We built my car on music & endless cups of tea! I would probably be listening to Rudimental.
After you win Le Mans what food do you have for your celebration meal?
Calamari – lots of it!
What’s your favourite film? And also what’s your favourite car racing/chasing film if different?
Talladega Nights – watched it a million times… “Shake & Bake” and the Senna movie.
Tell us something about you that your fans don’t already know?
A bit embarrassing really but I admit that in my first ever qualifying session in cars, I drove with the handbrake on…the whole session! Needless to say I didn’t pole it :-).
Good luck for the rest of the season Jack and I hope to do this again in future (I want your first interview post-Le Mans).