Teenager Ayrton Simmons has recently signed to race for TRS Arden Motorsports for 2016. We caught up with him ahead of his rookie season in the MSA Formula.
So, you’ve been racing since you were six, but what was your first memory of being in a car or on a track?
My first memory is on a hired kart at circuit Montoya in Madrid when I was 5. I loved it!
Do you remember your first race?
I remember! I was very excited and my goal was to not finish last, which I achieved.
How old were you when you realised you wanted to be a racing driver instead of just racing for fun?
I was between 7 and 8, when I started winning championships and taking racing seriously.
And what kind of help did you get when you started racing?
Only my dad.
Has he had motor racing experience?
No but he always liked the races.
Do you ever worry about the costs involved in racing?
I’m lucky that that side is not down to me but I come from a normal family from Essex and it is a big effort for us, I realise that.
As a young driver, does it worry you to see people talk about how competitive it is to get a seat in championships like Formula One?
Not much. I just focus on what I’m doing and hope that money won’t buy talent.
Always best to not fret over things you can’t control. Who’s your biggest inspiration when it comes to racing and why?
Lewis Hamilton because he’s a very good driver and very cool, and he comes from a similar background.
And out of the current F1 grid, who do you think would be your ideal team mate?
It’s got to be fastest, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, or Jenson Button. Any of them will do.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a driver?
In Superone 2014, driving in Larkhall in the pouring rain with 2 punctures in my wet tyres.
Is there a reason you’ve chosen the English championship over racing abroad, or is it just practicality/finances?
It is more practical, as living now living in England and I think there is a lot more tradition and therefore more talent.
Moving on to your signing with Arden, who approached who first?
ARDEN spotted me during a race at Rye House 2 years ago and asked me to joint their Young Racing Driver Academy and I’ve been working with them, and thanks to my performance in the Simulator and tests they offered me the seat.
What was the main factor for you when you were considering what step to take for 2016?
The main factor was what to do if I wasn’t offered a seat, as I’m too young to race in the first two rounds, but thankfully I got the team’s trust to do what I love and hopefully bring some good results.
How concerned were Arden about you having to miss those rounds?
They think it’s a shame as judging by my tests I would have a good chance for the rookie championship, but they are working on their side of things and trust me to do well.
And who was there to help you out when you made the decision to sign with Arden?
It was a clear decision, it’s such a great team! They always said that the offer of the seats would be talent based and my results both on the Sim and track have always been very impressive so I was confident that as long as my date of birth was not a problem, I would get the offer, I have been very focused, working hard for it.
And finally, what’s the main goal for 2016?
Enjoy my racing, work hard and learn and try my best to finish high up in the rookie championship.
Ayrton’s first round will be at Thruxton in May.
Images Credit Caroline Rhea