Sean Edwards, son of former Formula 1 driver Guy Edwards, is one of the biggest talents in GT cars. During the past seasons, the young Briton has developed himself as a contender for the victories and championship in the highly regarded Porsche Supercup. RacingInside.com spoke to Sean Edwards about his view at his career and his future.
Hello Sean, I think many visitors will be familiar with the name of Sean Edwards. Unfortunately, some of them will not know who you are. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
I am Sean Edwards and I am a 25 years old professional racing driver. Originally I am from the UK, but I am living in Monaco. I am mainly known for driving Porsches quickly in circles, but I do drive other things too (like the Mercedes SLS in Dubai 24 Hours this year). I also do a lot of online sim racing, using iRacing and rFactor.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing? Did your parents support you from the early beginning?
My dad raced Formula 1 in the late 70’s and also raced in Group C. So, I was always bought up around racing and both my parents supported me with doing it. Although my dad didn’t actually want me to do it, because he knew how dangerous it was.
Did you started your career, like many other drivers, in karting or have you been into the cars straight away? Do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a race driver?
Yes, I first drove a kart when I was 3 years old and started racing them when I was 11 years old. It is essential these days to start young; otherwise you will never make it. The mind of a younger person will take in and learn much faster than an adult.
During the first years of your career you have raced in single seaters (open wheelers). What are the reasons that you are not driving those cars anymore?
Simple, I did not find the backing from sponsors to move on from Formula Renault. I chose to go down the GT-route and try to make a career out of it, which I have. Now I get paid to do what I love, which is great and not many drivers these days can say this! Even half the F1 grid is bringing money with them.
After driving the single seaters you have made the step into the GT’s and especially driving Porsches. You have got some great results in that kind of cars, because you have got some good victories in Porsche Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup. What is the most significant difference between driving a single seater and a GT?
Mainly the downforce, GT cars do not have very much of this, which is why the racing can look better on TV. They have more power and less downforce, so are harder to drive in a way. But also, it makes it a lot more fun! I think GP2 is similar; they have the balance of power and downforce right. They are also a lot heavier and wider, so it takes some time to get used to for sure.
If you take a look ahead, what do you think that the future will bring to you? Winning the championship in Porsche Supercup or winning Le Mans 24 hours will possibly be one of your main targets, but do you have any other targets that have to be accomplished?
Yes, those two are my big goals. But, I would also like to become part of the Porsche factory driver programme. They will start to need more GT drivers next year, because of their LMP1 programme for Le Mans. So, I hope to get involved.
The life of a race driver is tough physically and mentally. Do you have a special training programme to stay fit and to gain strength?
I do a lot of biking and running. It is critical to keep fit, not for the Supercup races but for the long distance races like Le Mans and other 24 Hours races. I am also in the car, driving every week. So, this keeps you pretty fit for the race car! Biking is very popular down here, so all the drivers like Rosberg, Senna, Coulthard etc. go out together. We go with professional Tour de France cyclers too, so it is good fun.
If you could change lives for a day with another race driver, who would it be?
I am not really sure, probably someone from Formula 1, Indycar or Nascar. Just because it would be cool to race those cars. The problem with those series is the politics and pressure that goes around it with the big commercial sponsors being involved. Outside the car, life is pretty tough for those guys.
From the outside, being a race driver looks like a real dream. But there are also negative points, of course. If you could take people a look at the ‘inside’ of racing, what do you think is the most negative point of being a race driver?
Well, it is actually a lot of work. 90% from the work is outside the car and only 10% is driving. Obviously, you guys only really see the driving, which is the fun part! Also the travelling is a big problem, I am constantly in an airport and a hotel these days, with around 160 flights in 2011, I am almost never home. But in the end I am doing something I love and would never complain about it, as I know I am very lucky to be able to do this.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
If it is your dream, then go for it. Never give up and try everything to get there. If you want it bad enough, you will achieve it and that goes for most things in life.
Copyright of photographs: SeanEdwards.eu