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Part One: Being an RSG Sponsored Business Racing Driver
Posted In: General
Posted Date: 31/07/2017 15:42:19
I often get asked how cool it must be to be a racing driver. My answer usually confuses people Ė I say ĎIím a racing driver on the weekend, and a business man in the week.í The modern day racing driver has to have a fair few strings to their bow. They have to be fast in a race car, consistent, good with the media, good with social media, knowledgeable about a racing car and must avoid lots of distractions.Most importantly, in my opinion, is a modern day racing driver has to understand business and how that connects a racing programme.
My name is Dino Zamparelli and I am a 24-year-old racing driver born and based in Bristol. For most of my life, ever since I was 6 years old in fact, Iíve wanted to race cars around really fast and earn a living from it. Formula 1 was my goal growing up and going through the junior motoring ladder. I started out in Karting, like a lot of drivers do, and quickly ascended the career path towards F1.
Iíve won lots of races and championships in the junior levels of Motor-Racing; stood on many famous and iconic podiums and I believe, did myself proud. My final years of the goal towards Formula 1, were spent in the GP3/Formula 2 paddocks. These two junior championships are effectively one and two steps below F1. I had a good final season in GP3 with 6 podiums out of 9 events and then went on to test a Formula 2 car. This is one step below Formula 1 Ė sorry to sound obvious but itís definitely one of my most frequently asked questions. Theyíre basically like baby Formula 1 cars.
My final laps were turned in 2014 in a Formula 2 test, where on my debut I was 7th quickest out of 22 more experienced competitors. It was a great effort Ė and I was showing some really good promise, and conceivably, I could have done another year in GP3 or even moved into Formula 2. But, I decided I wanted to realign the goal. Formula 1 had become a sport governed by cash. You would need £5+ million pounds to get into Formula 1 and even then, that was just for one season. For a season in Formula 2, you need around 2 million quid. In summary, it all get silly and I was already being backed by various sponsors/partners, so we decided as a unit, that Formula 1 was no longer the right path.
Despite spending my entire career and childhood working towards a goal of Formula 1, I had to change my outlook on my career pretty quickly. I had to rework my goals and aims for my career, and come up with a plan. That isnít easy to do at the age of 21.
However, after months of analysing, researching and understanding different racing championships in sports cars Ė I found a championship called the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, that would allow me to continue the journey of becoming a professional racing driver, whilst also allowing me to work on a sponsorship model. I was fully backed in my racing career by certain partners and investors, but for Porsche Carrera Cup, I knew Iíd have to rework the model slightly. Porsche Carrera Cup was something tangible; the cars were Porsche 911 GT3ís, so very similar to the Porsche 911ís that you might see cruising around the streets.
Instead of swanning off to race circuits like Abu Dhabi, Monza and Barcelona, I would be racing around the UK at circuits in Norwich, Fife in Scotland and Croft in Teesside. It was a crash back down to reality after spending a few cool seasons in Europe with the F1 circus. But do you know what? I was absolutely looking forward to it and I was looking forward to entering the world of Sports Car racing and making a name for myself.
Enter the seasons of 2015 and 2016, where I finished 6th in year one and 2nd in year two in the Porsche Cup. Itís not easy moving from single seaters to sports cars and without getting too technical, the single seater is a different beast. You canít take as much speed into the corners with a Porsche; you canít be as aggressive or as fast, you must be a lot smoother and kinder. Racing back on the UK circuits as well; they were tighter and less forgiving than big European tracks. So in short, I had to really adjust to and accept that I was no longer heading towards Formula 1. I think that sounds easy to do, but it probably took longer than it should have done. When you have a goal; you must quickly move the distractions away and focus entirely and wholly on achieving that goal. No matter what that is; I decided to move to sports cars, this was now going to be my new goal.
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