The Austrian racing driver Dominik Baumann is a young talented guy, that is showing a great pace during the last couple of years. Switching from single seaters to GT's at a young age is a decision that probably made his career unfold. After some good years with BMW, he made the switch to racing the new AMG GT3 and had a good weekend during the first races of the 2016 Blancpain Sprint Series at Misano. RacingInside.com spoke to Dominik Baumann to talk about his career.
Hello Dominik, some of our visitors will be familiar with the name of Dominik Baumann. Unfortunately, some of them may have never heard of you. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
I live in Austria, in a small village called Rum. I started my career in 2005 with karting. I just did 2 years in single seaters then I made the early move into the GT’s while I was just 17 years old.
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?
Without the support from my parents, I would never be there where I am now. Everything started with some indoor karting for fun and suddenly I did my first Bambini race in Germany.
You have started your career in karting, like many other drivers. Do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a race driver?
Yes, absolutely. Now, while racing GT’s, I still benefit from everything I have learned during my karting career. In my off-season I still do some karting, because it is the best training for a race driver.
During the first years of your career, while racing cars, you have raced in single seaters. Why did you made the switch to racing in GT’s?
I had to choose between F3 and GT’s. In my opinion, as an Austrian racing driver, it is extremely hard to find sponsors and the chance to get to F1 is close to zero. So, I decided to compete in an international GT Championship.
During the last couple of seasons you have mainly raced with BMW, but for the 2016 season you have made the switch to Mercedes-Benz and their new AMG GT. Do you already feel some difference between the brands and their cars?
It was not easy to take that decision, but I feel very comfortable and look forward to the next years with AMG. They have built a great car and as you could see we were already quite competitive in the Blancpain Sprint Series. I really enjoy driving this car, especially for endurance races it is perfect.
Every race driver has good and bad moments during his career. What is your best moment in racing, until now? What is the moment you would like to forget as soon as possible?
To become European Champion in 2012 in GT3 was one of my greatest achievements.
The race in Baku was something to forget, we had to start from pit lane because we made a mistake during qualifying. Then, I crashed the car in the first lap.
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?
Not really. I try to improve my physical fitness during the winter break; I play ice-hockey and do some ski-touring and as I mentioned before I do some training in karting as well.
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?
I guess there are not many negative points in being a racing driver. Maybe one of the few will be to pack and unpack before and after each race or the travel if you don’t like it so much.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
Never give up, grow beyond your limits and be kind to everyone, you always meet twice in a lifetime!