A racing driver in lockdown is a bit like a fish out of water...
Nothing could be more diametrically opposed to their natural state of being. But for every racing driver in Britain, that nightmare has turned into a reality. Wings clipped; tyres deflated. We asked Scott McKenna – who is backed by WatchGecko on the Porsche Carrera Cup this year – exactly how he was managing to fill the void. And this is what a typical day looks like for a racing driver in lockdown:
Sleeping! I’m getting a lot of sleep these days, which on the one hand sounds quite lazy, but on the other hand is just as important as training. Sleep is when your body really gets to repair itself, so it’s important to get as much as possible. While that opportunity isn't one that I would have wanted under these circumstances, it’s important to take it when it’s there. I’ve probably been getting up at about nine or 10 in the morning, which is definitely a big lie-in by my usual standards.
Not very healthy on the whole: I’ve been having a few fry-ups, which isn’t something that I normally get to indulge in too much! But everything in moderation: that sees me through until the evening on the whole, and I do a lot of training to burn it all off. It’s a funny situation at the moment, so at least you can treat yourself with some nice food sometimes!
I’m on email and catching up with stuff after breakfast: normally the motorsport news to find out what’s going on in my world, and then the general news to find out what’s going on in the world as a whole: it’s important to stay informed. Then, after that, it’s time to get togged up and head outside for training. We live in the middle of the countryside in Yorkshire, so there’s plenty of chance to get out and get some fresh air, which I’m really grateful for.
I’m taking advantage of this time to keep as fit as I can. I’m often doing a three or four mile run – sometimes I take my brother with me – or a really good walk, five miles or more. It’s quite rugged countryside terrain, so definitely a proper work-out. But that’s really good: it keeps up your fitness levels and helps you vent a bit of frustration about these strange times that we’re living in.
Just a light lunch normally, after showering. This is the longest period of not racing I’ve ever had since I started my career, but I’m a positive person who tries to see the upside in everything. I’ve spent a lot of time with my family obviously, and that’s great as they’ve really supported me throughout my career.
Work! There’s a lot more to being a racing driver than just keeping fit and driving a car. You have to keep in touch with your team and sponsors, occasionally there are media commitments such as interviews, and there’s also a lot you can do to prepare for the forthcoming races. I’ve been spending hours on YouTube studying in-car videos of every Porsche race you can imagine, on every circuit. I’m looking at how the circuit goes and different driving styles. There’s a lot you can learn. I also spend time looking at races for fun: I admit that I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to motorsport history, and I can spend ages watching videos of old races and rallies. Being part of a tradition is really important to me, so learning about the history of the sport is never time wasted: it’s part of your culture.
It’s good to get out again, so I sometimes go shopping or go and take my gran some supplies: I’d go stir crazy just sitting in the house all day! She lives about 20 minutes away, so I get to have a bit of a drive, but unfortunately not in a Porsche. Instead, it’s just in my 2008 1.2-litre Ford Fiesta road car, but don’t knock it: it’s a great machine! And it’s certainly lived a bit. I enjoy driving any car, but I’d definitely prefer it to be a racing car. Beggars can't be choosers though!
Late afternoonMore work and admin: I’ve been using this time to revamp my website, for example, which I’m really getting into. I’m definitely one for attention to detail, so it’s slow going sometimes, but we’ll get there in the end and I know that I’ll love it when it’s done. I’ll also get on the phone a bit and catch up with friends and other people from the racing world, just to see what’s going on. One of my interests is obviously watches, so I like to catch up on what’s happening in the world of watches too.
I tend not to eat too late and I try not to eat too much at dinner, just to help the digestion. I do generally keep an eye on what I’m eating (apart from those fried breakfasts!) but during the off-season – which this now is, unfortunately – it's not so crucial. During the season, I’ll ramp up the training and nutrition a lot more.
EveningAfter dinner, I just try and relax a bit and be a normal 18-year-old! That might mean watching TV (and yes, there might be some motorsport involved…) or gaming, which I’ve been really enjoying with my brother, Gran Turismo normally. He’s 15 and getting really good: in fact, he’ll be racing very soon, so it’ll be fascinating to see how he gets on. Then I’m just chatting, listening to music, sometimes reading a bit, and before I know it, it’s nearly time for bed. I’m sure that everyone is finding a lot of these days to be quite similar, but it’s still funny how they pass so quickly…
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