Darren Manning

bf3-silverstone-ii-2005-darren-manningDarren has always been the life of the party. He is charismatic, can tell a killer story, and is so knowledgeable (even about the most random facts) I find myself wondering how he came to learn it all. He is dedicated, immensely personable, down-to-earth, and confident in his abilities. Among many other things, he is a credible and competent racing driver, a great friend and husband, and an even better Dad to Ethan, 8 and Sophia, 4. Darren’s career started at the early age of 10 when he began karting in Europe and International events. During his 30+ years of racing experience, he has been involved in every series, from karting to Formula One. During this time, he learned an incredible amount about the racing industry, the people involved in it, and the scene behind it. Darren has a passion for competition, for being the best, and will do anything it takes to get to the top.

Q&A With Darren:
1. What made you want to get into racing as a young boy?
“My dad and I loved doing anything outdoors together. He put me in a go kart when I was 8 and I loved it, it felt natural to me. I had always loved cars, watching F1 on the tele, racing in general. Dad thought I was picking up karting pretty well, and we decided to compete just for a bit of fun. I kept improving. That would be the start of my career as a racing driver.”
2. What was your first Kart?
“My very first Kart was a “Dart Ford.” We had an old knakker that we thrashed around old air fields/disused runways with pedal extensions that my dad made. Then, when I was old enough to go racing, we went to Dart Ford Karting in London and bought a Kart, engine, slicks, wets, helmet, and overalls that were 10 sizes too big that were PVC leather, and I had to turn the legs up. We had to get ladies shoes. I used that kart for the first year as a novice. When we decided to do it more seriously, we went with Gillard and stayed with them my entire Karting career.”
3. What is your most fond memory from childhood?
“Camping out at racetracks with my dad and going racing.”
4. What was the hardest racing decision you ever had to make?
“Whether to sign the contract with BAR (British American Racing) as a Formula 1 test driver paired with a full-time Formula 3000 ride with Arden, or let that opportunity go by and wait for Williams’ decision on their full time Formula One driver which I was in the running for. “
5. Looking back, would you have made a different decision?
“No. I would have done the same again.”
6. What is your favorite track?
“I have lots. Tough to just have one, especially all the tracks I have driven around the world. But, the Macau street circuit is definitely one of them. I like the challenges the street circuits give you.”
7. The best place you have ever traveled to while racing?
“Japan. I would wake up in the morning and open my curtains to get a killer view of Mount Fugi.”
8. Hardest point in your career?
“Anytime that you don’t have a ride for the next season. This industry can be so… one minute your up, the next you are down, then back up again. “
9. Any advice to share? Words of wisdom?
“Just never give up. You can truly accomplish ANYTHING that you put your mind to. Never stop believing that. There will be sacrifices along the way, but as long as you are prepared to make them, you will succeed.”