Having grown up in Charlotte, NC, I was immersed in racing, primarily NASCAR, at a very young age. I was a Dale Earnhardt Sr fan and went to countless races across the southeast United States as a kid. Although I attended some IRL and CART races, my love of open wheel racing did not truly start until 2007 when I stumbled across a broadcast of Formula One. The scream of those V8 engines and the cornering speeds of those cars was like nothing I had ever experienced before and I was immediately addicted. Finding F1 coverage in the United States was difficult, especially back in the pre-social media days, but it has been well worth the ride. Lewis Hamilton was a young rookie at the time, and I immediately gravitated towards him due to his on track potential and his off track story.
Many years later, I’m still as hooked on F1 as the first day I saw it, and I’m thrilled to have a platform to discuss it on a weekly basis with each of you, my Formula One family. I’m a die-hard Lewis Hamilton fan, as well as a proud supporter of McLaren and also Max Verstappen.
James is the newest F1 fan of the group but his love for the sport is just as deep as the others. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago did not present him with many chances to experience the excitement and action of a Grand Prix but once he came across a race on a fateful Sunday morning a couple years ago, he was hooked. What started as flipping through channels and landing on a random race quickly grew into an obsession thanks to hours of devouring every F1 video he could find on YouTube. Thanks to content creators such as the legendary Chain Bear, James’s F1 knowledge grew quickly. Soon after, James turned his attention to Twitter and podcasts to submerse himself into the F1 community. Early on, he met Jon and a friendship quickly blossomed thanks to the rarity of finding other F1 fans in the Chicagoland area. After many discussions on the idea of starting a podcast, James and Jon decided there was a need for an American based F1 Podcast and moved forward with starting the Out Lap F1 podcast. You will find James on twitter @JChronicF1 cheering on his favorite teams: Ferrari and McLaren along with all the awesome people he has met in the remarkable F1 community.
If it goes fast, I probably like it. From an early age, I’ve always been fascinated by things that move fast, and nothing moves faster, or glides across the road better, than the modern F1 car. My earliest memories of Formula One come from two main sources, videogames and the exclusive use of the cable TV on Sunday mornings. I always liked racing videogames, and I could always rent them from the local video store (yes, we had those back in the day). Many weekends were lost to trying to master both the car setup and the on track domination of certain titles like “Al Unser Jr’s turbo Racing” and “Nigel Mansel’s World Championship.”
I remember the first time I saw an F1 race on TV, it looked and sounded so different from the coverage of racing in the US. The lap graphics were slick and had real time gap info, the tracks looked so challenging and then there was the sound. There is still nothing like the sound of a naturally aspirated F1 screaming engine turning near 10,000 Revs. It resonates in your gut, and makes you want to watch. The first season I remember vividly was the 1998 season, where it was McLaren Vs Ferrari at almost every race. Schumacher Vs Hakkinen at almost every race, sometimes the McLaren would win, other times the Ferrari’s would win. It was a titanic battle, and I was hooked. That McLaren car looked so badass, looked like black and white intimating beast, I loved it! McLaren was my team back then, and remains so to this day.
As the gentrification of TV coverage made following the sport more difficult, I actually had a bit of a “blackout period” where it was almost impossible to follow the sport. That changed in 2007, when I was able to go to Europe for the first time, and I was able to see how large the sport actually was. I remember going from bar to bar in downtown Dublin, and every TV in every bar had the race on. I told myself then that I was going to do whatever I had to get back into the sport. It didn’t hurt that McLaren had a rookie on its team named Lewis Hamilton that was going to change the face of the sport for years to come. I had my driver, and I had my team again. All In!
Since then, with accessibility to the sport and motorsport in general much more available, I’ve used F1 as a springboard to follow other motorsports like IndyCar, MotoGP, IMSA, World Superbikes, and the WEC. Each form of motorsport has its own separate appeal, but for me, nothing tops F1. I hope I can bring the passion that I have for this sport over to you via this platform. There is nothing like this sport anywhere else. It’s the only sport I wake up at, or stay up until, 3AM for. I’m excited to be on this journey with you. As Crofty puts it “It’s lights out, and AWAY WE GO!”