Q and A: Theo Paphitis from ‘Dragons’ Den’

Historic Racing

The former business investor from the TV series ‘Dragons’ Den’ started racing historic touring cars this summer as a build up to the Goodwood Revival.

Why did you get into racing?
“It’s all about stupidity as well as bravado. I was at Goodwood last year with some of my racing friends including Mark Blundell. I happened to say to one of them at Goodwood that he only came third and he said: ‘it isn’t that easy’. So I said: ‘how hard can it be, for goodness sake?’”

How did you get started?
“They pointed out to me that I don’t even drive my own road car. To cut a long story short, by the end of the evening the gloves were off and the challenge was to get myself a National A licence and by September this year I’d be racing at Goodwood and then we’d see how easy it really is. They said that if I lived that long, they’d all pay a lot of money to charity.”

What happened next?
“Challenge number one was getting through my ARDS test and number two was to finish six races and get my ‘A’ licence. The third stage is to go to Goodwood and qualify and the fourth challenge is to stay alive through it all. Then they’ll all put their hands in their pockets and give a huge amount of money to good causes.”

What car have you been racing?
“They decided the Ford Anglia was the car that would suit me best so I could look like Harry Potter. The first race at Donington was horrendous. I’d never been in the car and never driven on a track before and I qualified last and finished last. They were shocked that I even finished. After that my priority was to finish, but now I’m desperate to race.”

How have you got on?
“The most amazing thing is that I’ve made so many new friends. In the paddock everyone has been so lovely and then these silver-haired gentlemen, who have been ever so polite, grow horns and try and kill you. Then afterwards they are lovely again. I can’t see myself not racing again after this. I’ve enjoyed the events, the atmosphere and the camaraderie.”

Are you ready for Goodwood?
“I’m incredibly excited to be making my Goodwood Revival debut. With Mike Conway as my team-mate, I think we can have a respectable finish, although that will be tough against the cream of historic racers – not least my business partner, Mark Blundell! I just don’t want to be saying ‘I’m out’ at any point of the race.”

 

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