Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Some in the racing community start young, others are lucky enough to have incredibly rich parents who push them all the way up into club-level motorsport and some are even lucky enough to get picked up by sponsors almost immediately...but me? I have my own story.
If I've got to find a "route cause" for my career and the way it went, I've got to point my finger directly at my dad - he too absolutely loving cars and motorsport.
Between 1988 and 2019 he's commentated on every single 24 Hours Of Le Mans, radio broadcasts of the race only starting in 1986 and that being only one English commentator and the rest being French.
Obviously, he's commentated on other incredibly significant endurance races on Radio Le Mans and PA (Public Address) systems too.
If we must really go back, his story started at Brands Hatch, doing physical lap-charts on paper before being asked by Bryan Jones - to do the grid announcement/line-up whilst Bryan went out of the commentary box. The rest then being history.
My dad has never raced - and from what he's told me never saw much interest in the driving/racing side of things.
The Early Years (2007-2013)
My story starts many, many years ago on a little Spanish Island called Menorca.
It was a beautiful summer's day and me and my family (mum, dad and brother) were enjoying our summer holiday that year.
During one day of this holiday, we stumbled upon this place which was offering young kids (like myself) the experience of driving little electric-powered cars around a oval circuit. Given my huge car obsession (still on-going) I probably pleaded quite-a-damn-lot to have a go.
As all parents know - there is no saying no to a 6-Year-Old!
As mentioned, I was only 6 so can't actually remember what I felt - but one thing I didn't feel was fear. I (assume) I liked/loved/enjoyed it and didn't have a negative experience.
Going from pedal/foot-powered toys in the school playground, to a tiny electric motor around a "street circuit" - it was certainly a good time!
Around this sort of time, I had previously done a little bit of driving - weather it was in the playground, alternative electric cars (legoland and ride-on car hires), pedalos or even an old, broken, electric car we (family) found in a bush that we pushed around...but nothing was quite to the level of this. This was my first experience of "racing" - of actively driving fast.
Obviously the last thing the poor old tired operator wanted to do was record lap-times for some 6-Year-Old, so none were ever recorded.
A couple of years later, my 8th Birthday would come along and to my delight (and wish) I was to have have a "karting" party.
Located at my local leisure centre, this was my first ever time in a purpose-built kart, on a purpose built race-track.
After my 8th birthday in 2009, I took a few years to think about my racing career before I'd return to the track in 2013 at the age of 12.
Once again, it was a Karting Birthday - but this time the karts were much faster, and the track was considerably more dangerous than the 0.01 Mile Oval I had been introduced to.
I'd make my proper Karting Debut at TeamSport Camberley - which looks as follows (Not me driving)
(Credit to "Karting Videos")
It was an absolute blast - though I remember very little of it.
The very next year I progressed further - switching out the limited power and Plywood for the Great Outdoors, Tarmac Surface and faster cars.
A 12-YO Robin Truswell about to start his Karting career at Camberley
2011 would also be the very first year I'd start watching Formula One - my most vivid memory was of Sebastian Vettel spinning out at the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a puncture - either 2011 or 2012 being the very first season I watched from the start.
2013-2015 - Daytona Sandown Park
Daytona Sandown Park was the next step on my career - outside and in the open I could feel the wind on my suit (and down my arms) and not limited by size, I could press the power down.
Sandown Park would bring me quite a lot of success - both on and off track.
Off-track, I'd make quite a few friends - some would fall out of contact over the years, and others, like Thomas Wallace would stay in my life and even after 8 years, we'd still be great friends and in frequent contact over messenger.
Alongside the occasional arrive-and-drive, I'd compete in the 2014 InKart Championship (the circuit providing the karts as the series did different configurations of the same circuit for the different rounds of the Championship On-track, I picked up a good few podiums, starting in July 2013, winning an Arrive And Drive Session (can't remember if it was just lap-times or a race - probably a bit of both
February the following year (2014) would be a very good month for me as I'd finish on the podium multiple times winning 2 races in the Race-School Daytona had set up, finishing in 3rd in another arrive and Drive session and 2nd Sandown Park's "Daytona 40".
I'd then win a final in the (Cadet) InKart series - one of the first I had competed in
The format of the InKart Series was as follows:
The day would start off with a practice session, then there would be 3 heats (each driver starting near the front, middle and back) for each of the classes and then a final (for each class)
In each class there'd be 4 or so finals - ranging from E or D up to a A. The more points you got in your heats throughout the day (by finishing higher in the heats) the higher you'd start in either the E, D or C finals (depending on numbers of entries, there would be a different number of finals from E - B, there always was an A final). Winning all three heats would put you automatically in the A Final and at the front. The winner of each final would be put at the back of the grid of the next highest final (I.E: winner of B would be put at the back of A)
March 2015 was particularly successful when I finished in the Top 5 for all three heats and final - scoring two 2nd places and a 3rd place!
The following month was equally impressive - Getting a 6th, 5th and a 3rd in my heats, before winning the final.
2014 would also finish on the podium a further four times - getting two 3rd's in June and once in August and October.
I - nor my dad may've had the funding - but it was just very interesting and fun to go down to Sandown and see where I'd end up - the karts were fast, the circuit was great, I had friends to meet and it was overall a great day out.
The 2014 InKart season would see me finish in 15th of 59 who attended the championship over the 11 rounds.
2014 - 2017
From here, I went to my most recent kart-track: Buckmore Park.
Buckmore Park is an MSA Approved kart circuit in Chatham - and is the last place I met karting friends.
2015 Here I did Buckmore's Junior club, As it was my first time in the InKart Championships, (after a couple of arrive & drives beforehand) I was put in the rookie class along with others making their "InKart" debut.
Being a small, scrawny little boy - I was light. Very light.
This would mean blistering starts. Whilst everyone bogged off the line (weight) I'd
shoot up the field, using ample of grass on either side of the track as I went.
The Junior club would have the same format as the InKart Championship - 3 heats (starting near the front, middle and back) and then a couple of finals E/D - A (for each class)
Only twice in my rookie year of karting (at Buckmore) did I manage to get into the A-Final.
The earliest was in February 2015, finishing 4th, before hitting the jackpot in May that year, picking up a trophy for third place behind another karting friend of mine Edward Fleming.
I'd end up winning Rookie Of The Year, alongside my best mate (at the time - we've fallen out of contact) Oliwier Swedrowski, who was half Polish and half British - though he was slightly younger, we still watched each-other race from the hospitality and supported each other in success and in loss. How we compared to one another pace/lap-time wise didn't matter - we were great mates.
We were so close that we even drove him down to the train-station after quite a few of the races.
I'd even visit his house a couple of times!
As the old saying always goes "all good things must come to an end" and sure enough - these golden days were numbered.
Since I had done a season of racing at Buckmore, the next year (2016) I was bumped into the "upper" and more difficult class - the "Juniors" in Junior Club.
These guys were not rookies.
That may sound obvious enough, but "rookie" quite literally means "first time in the kart", the boys I was racing against were far from that.
They were serious and they were fast - I'm going to take a dangerous stab here and say that this was neither their first year at Buckmore, nor the only track they participate at - I'm going to (dangerously) reckon that they come here (and other tracks) fairly damn often - and for a guy like me, doing arrive and drives every month - there was simply no competition - they had me beat and I was accustomed to the back of the field.
I spent 2016 and I believe a little bit of 2017 (?) at the back of the Junior Club pack...but another issue arose. My Age.
The Junior Club was for 13 - 16 year olds - and in 2017 I was 16 - meaning that next year I'd be too old to compete in the series.
The question of weather I did 2017 at Buckmore falls under the question-mark of Motivation - if I spent a year/season at the back of the pack...why would I have raced for another whole year if I spent 2016 at the back of the pack?
Nevertheless, during this time, I was looking for alternative options to the Junior Club.
2015 - An Alternative To Karting The first of these events happened whilst racing at Buckmore and it was part of the Ginetta Junior Scholarship.
Over the couple of days they had drivers showing off their skills, Ginetta would pick a couple of finalists who'd compete for the chance to win a fully funded race season in the Ginetta Junior Championship - an opportunity too good to miss!
Unlike the Caterham Academy costing £30,000 - Ginetta's cost a fraction of the price - I want to say the entry was almost free (or a small cost, otherwise it wouldn't be done) - but don't hold me to that. The Scholarship day was made up of three parts driving, media and fitness.
The driving part was pretty self-explanatory - prove that you can drive a car safely, but competitively/fastly. I had to have a session in a manual Mercedes at Mercedes Benz World prior (as I only really knew how to drive auto) - and despite a spin - I didn't crash the car...so I guess I didn't do half bad.
The media section was basically an interview - you tell them a bit about yourself and who you are in a professional manner and they ask you questions such as "why should we give you this drive?"
The issue was - I was young - I was still in my secondary school - and I hadn't studied a thing about media - media came in college - after Year 11 - me being in Year 10/11 at the time.
Finally fitness - ah fitness my fellow friend. As a boy with low muscle tone, and a naturally "finer" (skinny) body-shape this was not one for me.
From what I remembered it was about a half an hour workout or so...
It was a somewhat enjoyable day - I loved the driving/speed - despite stalling it a couple of times down the pit-lane.
In the end - I didn't win. or get in the finals.
Was I gutted? No. I knew I had messed up the fitness (what fitness lul) - had a spin and was rather bad at the interview - I knew I wasn't in with a chance - but it was worth a shot and a bloody good chance to drive something I, at my calibre should not be driving!
Junior Club Alternative 2 - 26th May 2018 - Club 100
My second "adventure" in trying to find out what I could do instead of Junior Club came in 2018 at 17 years of age.
Yes, it was was still Karting, however it was a different arrive and drive series.
This series was a 2-Stroke series that raced on different tracks every round - and I was just having a tester to see weather I liked it or not.
Turns out I didn't. Not one bit. Weather it was my kart in particular or how 2-Strokes run - I felt massive vibrations constantly throughout the laps and quite frankly, it ruined the experience and unless someone can talk me into trying again and that it was just a shite kart I got - or I messed up ballast - I probably won't be going back.
Now, there was just one series left that I hadn't tried, and one I still haven't tried - COVKARTSPORT which labels itself as "The UK's Original Rental Kart Championship".
Thomas Wallace (same karter as before) originally told me about COVKART in I think 2018 (or 2017 - doesn't really matter) - and whenever it was, money was always a massive issue in addition to being in some form of education. If I was in Year 11/Year 10 - I was full time boarding at School - and if I was at college - I was at college pretty much all day.
Maybe I was busy, maybe I was poor, I don't know but the annoying thing is I didn't attend a single session and during 2020 - COVKART not only stopped - but announced a very unlikely 2021 return...and an uncertain future - which is a massive shame because it sounded like something I was really into.
2019 - The Virtual Age
Come the end of 2018 - I could not to even BEGIN to imagine that in a year's time that I'd be sitting in/on a Playseat Revolution with a Logitech G920 attached to it playing a bloody realistic simulator with a small community who all looked up to me and knew who I was....but all that was to come!
William Burfield was the man who bought my attention to iRacing - and words cannot say enough how grateful I am to him - because he's certainly changed my life...and for the better The story starts late December '18, Early January '19 - I was looking for a game or sim where I could do some touring car racing or close doorhandle-to-doorhandle racing since AI racing...yeah it's ok, but you have to fiddle around with the aggressiveness/competitiveness level A LOT. At the time I tried RFactor, iRacing's younger and slightly worse brother - racing on a track Will made, practicing for some upcoming race (I think it was a 24hr race, not entirely sure) and he recommended iRacing and told me all about it. At first I was hesitant - especially with a monthly subscription model - but seeing the state of RFactor's (almost non-existent) online base - on the 14th January I said these exact words
"Fuck it, I've bought iRacing"
and bloody hell was it a good decision. After getting my green Ikea chair and Thrustmaster T150 set up, I was ready to go....
I said to myself that I'd treat this as my career continuing on from karting. Seeing as the "lowest level" of road motorsport (there being oval, dirt oval, rallycross and road) being a single-make Mazda MX-5 Series - I saw this as the equivalent of a season in Ginetta Junior or other slow-ish single-make series.
iRacing too has "seasons" - four of them per year, each 12 Weeks or 3 months long - in between is Week 13, where iRacing launches new content. iRacing puts up fun/odd/enjoyable/crazy races throughout this week - and it's basically an "off-week" for everyone.
There are still offical races during Week 13, yes - but 3/4 of it is all fun and games.
This is done to test new content and check for bugs within the new content and current sim and have time/the ability to fix and tweak it. This is done not during one of the official weeks in case something is fundamentally broken - and so it doesn't ruin anyone's chances at the championship - or breaks the current on-going series standings.
Each race you enter (depending on entries) is split into different "splits" - allowing instead of one race of 24 cars, several races at the same time with 60 or 120 entries split into 10 or more different splits. Splits are like the "junior" and "rookie" splits in the karting done before - those less experienced and with a lesser rating get to race with others with the same/similar rating or experience - meaning that highly experienced or skilled drivers get put in the top-split with those on the same calibre meaning competitive but fair racing for everyone.
Someone always has to finish last, yes - but it massively narrows the gap between first and last place compared to if there was no split system.
With this in place, I'd join my first race - a Mazda MX-5 Cup race at Summit Point Raceway (yes, yes - I'm not limited to the UK either!) and from 10th I finished 8th...moving upwards...excellent.
In my first season (me joining on Week 5 of 12) I'd finish in the Top 10 in every single race - even managing to grab a podium at Lime Rock Park by 0.129 seconds. In a 20 lap race, that's absolutely milliscule!
At the time, iRacing was lacking a bit of content - and from the Mazda MX5 you could either take a side-step and do a season in the Skip Barber Series or you could make the leap into GT racing and go instantly into GT3/GTE racing.
At the time, I had no interest in Open Wheel Racing - so chose to go down the route of Single-Make GT Racing: The Ferrari GT3 Challenge utilising the Ferrari 488 GT3.
One may ask WTF? - Why The Ferrari?
And after a thoroughly enjoyable Week 13 in the Ferrari 488 GTE in the "Lucky 777 Series" (7 GTE Cars, 7 Days, 7 Tracks) which celebrated the launch of the BMW M8 - I instantly knew I wanted to drive the Ferrari....a lot. The sound, handling and cockpit all just came togther to create a very, very nice car!
The top speed of the Mazda MX5 Cup is 132mph.
I absolutely LOVED my time in the Ferrari GT3 Challenge - and loved it so much I even made a tribute video of my best moments of the season after I heard the series was being scrapped for Season 3, 2019.
One video I annoyingly missed was my INSANE start at Laguna Seca! (Mazda one was VERY cheeky!)
Onwards from here, there was only one way to go - up.
The only way up from sprint GT3 racing is Endurance racing...and back in late 2019, there was four main series you could do:
Special Events (throughout the year)
Hosted Special Events/Leagues (more for grounded teams)
ELMS/Endurance Le Mans Series (6hr Race, Class B+)
VRS Endurance - 4hrs, Class C+
iRacing's licences (think of them as competition licences, allowing you to do different series with the different skill levels) go from Rookie, then from D through to A. D is the lowest, and then C,B,A is the natural route of progression. Racing in the Mazdas and Ferrari GT3 Challenge promoted me up to C-Class - therefore allowing me to race in the VRS Endurance Series.
Now, these are four-hour long races, and of course, as a GT3-Sprint racer, I'm not going to be doing these all alone so a team is needed.
In the beginning I joined team AOD Racing (Angles Of Death) but with like 30 different websites and platforms and the rule that you must always on voice chat when racing sooorta put me off. During this time, I met a cool German guy called Tim.
With the help of a South African called Steen Ledger, I eventually found a team that was looking for drivers and did Special Events.
The team I found was called RSR Esports and they were huge - like today's Kabort Motorsport - plenty of life and channels - but I wanted something smaller. Something more manageable, like a little "endurance branch" and so was the birth of Kabort.
What Is "KABORT" And What Does It Stand For
The age old question - What is Kabort and what does it stand for? Well, it's an endurance racing team on iRacing. In the beginning I wanted to see what it was like to run a team, then I wanted to try and get good results - but now I'm just happy with a big, happy bubbly community. Tim (from AOD) was the very first to join, after murmuring something at AOD.
Next to follow was half a dozen (maybe a dozen) from RSR Esports - before I eventually found the forums driver market.
Maxim was the next to join, but unfortunately it appears as though we sort of "swept him under the carpet" as he didn't respond very quickly.
Following Maxim (NL) was Nicholas (US) before Jermaine (US) rounded up the earliest of the earlies. Kabort comes from a mixture of Tim KAsigkeit, Nicholas BOccanfuso and then my initals. RT.
We tried different combinations to begin with - but Kabort was the one that stuck.
For our debut race, we raced the Audi R8 due to Tim's wishes - however this ended up in disaster (like our rather INTERESTING MANN FILTER livery and a non finish as we all found the wall and Kabort Racing Team was swiftly rebranded to Kabort Motorsport
After finding our feet and growing the team a bit, myself and an iRacing painter eventually found a beautiful Golden colour - so rich that it had rarely been seen on iRacing before. This painter was DeNise Designs.
What I had achieved in just one year on iRacing, I hadn't even made a scratch in real life. 2007 - 2017: Karting.
Jan 2019 - 2020: Global Mazda MX5 Cup, Ferrari GT3 Challenge, VRS Endurance, 6hrs Of The Glen, 24hrs Spa (somehow), Bathurst 1000km and the Endurance Le Mans Series
It was during this Week 13 when iRacing released an AUDI RS3 TCR Touring Car - a perfect stepping stone between Mazdas and GT3's.
2020 was my first iRacing Season as a Team Principal and the first as a Class-B Driver - meaning I had a team, and had the licence to do all of the year's special events....and iRacing had a nice little trick up her sleeve. Two brand spanking new endurance series.
But first - it was an INCREDIBLY short season for me.
Following some experiments in the Porsche 911 Cup, Season 4 ended on a sour note with a large portion of the Kabort base leaving after standards in the team continued to fall after I, as a driver with organisation problems in real life, failed to organise and run a fully functional team.
After the final race of the season, I jumped straight into Week 13 and spent the whole week in the 911 Cup.
The Bathurst 12hrs would come and go - us looking at a 5th place finish before I tried to apologise to a fellow driver and wrote of the car. We'd finish 7th and just like that I was into the next Week 13. The team doing another season of ELMS - with me focussing on college and team principal-ing.
Alongside this, I also started some spreadsheets to keep track of the team - these quickly fell out of date, but I tried to keep them updated.
After another 911-Cup filled Week 13, it'd be time to set of for Season 2, 2020. Starting off with the Sebring 12 Hours, it was time for iRacing to release their new series - The VVLN/NES (Virtual Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) - Virtual VLN - or now more commonly and easily known as NES/NEC - Nurburgring Endurance Series/Championship - which was once a month.
In addition to new series, the Kabort team (expanding at a ridiculous rate) were also doing old series too - continuing to compete in the Endurance Le Mans Series and 24 Hours Of Nurburgring, the Mercedes piloted by Brits me, James A. Peace, James Powlesland, German Dominik Gahlow and Mexican Dante Reynoso somehow managing to finish 8th after everything we went through.
iRacing AGAIN added to the gap that was between Mazda and GT3 and added a BMW M4 GT4 alongside the Porsche Cayman GT4 already in the game since February - Now one can go
Global Mazda MX5 --> TCR --> GT4 --> GT3 --> LMP2 --> LMP1
Properly completing one's life as a racing driver.
With friends telling me that I wasn't too safe in an endurance racing car and my self-consciousness getting the better of me - I was looking for a new sprint-series to do, and after Commentator Joe Bradley set-up a Skippy league every Tuesday with random races on Thursday, I fell more and more in love with the Skippy. Skippies
Despite never having a win in this series (only once on the fun Thursday race) the racing was mighty, mighty close, and although I missed the first week of the 2020, Season 3 Skippy Series, there was still 11 Weeks left to go!
In my very first qualifying session in something I had never tried before, I slapped it on the front row - second place... This would have been amazing - had I actually refilled the car up with fuel afterwards - but the rest of the season was honestly one I could never forget! I guess it must be related coming from a Karting background as the skippy is pretty much a oversized kart with some bodywork strapped to it. You can absolutely THROW it into the corners and get away with it.....
The rest of the season went as follows:
Rd 3: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport): Q: 9th | R: 3rd (maiden podium on iRacing Rd 4: Zandvoort: Q: 5th | R: 4th (3rd until someone got slipstream on final lap) RD 5: Clash with Spa 24hrs 6: Missed Due To Being Busy
Rd 7: Donington Park: Q: 7th | R: 1st (1st Official Win on iRacing - day after win on Joe Bradley's hosted league
Rd 8: Nurburgring Nordschliefe: Q: 9th | R: DNF (everyone died) Rd: 9: Clashed With New iRacing Series IES (iRacing Endurance Series)
Rd 11: Montreal: Q: 3rd | R: 2nd (Pile up at turn one, leader escaped Rd 12: Belle Isle Q: 7th | R: 4th (Race gave me 1K iRating)
In August, I could clearly see and believe that I was going to University to study Multimedia Journalism - the plan from there being to go into Coventry Uni and study Automotive Journalism if I haven't already got a job after my three years at Wolverhampton - but it's all speculation.
I did one 12hr race at Barcelona in the interesting "iRacing Endurance Series" before wrapping up endurance racing at Road America for the ELMS (6hr) race there, before my very last race before university was a NES race.
After Week 13 in the Formula 3 and newly released Chevrolet Corvette GTE, I'd do two races of Season 4, 2020 - firstly a thoroughly enjoyable race at Suzuka in the F3 and then me having a little taste in the V8 Supercar....at Le Mans...at 9pm...whilst Petite Le Mans was going on....all alone - me grabbing pole, the fastest lap and the win....and also starting and finishing last at the same time....
Before I'd come home for the Christmas Holidays during Week 13 and drive the wheels of the GLORIOUS Lamborghini Huracan GT3 car that had just dropped!
For season 1, I did a little bit of experimenting - trying out the VRS Series, finding out that this was a little long for me - especially at Spa and it's track limits. I had a little spin with Joost in the Ferrari GTE at imola which reginited the love for the car - so who knows maybe IMSA or the EES Sprint Series might be the way forward?
But judging by them, they are also 45 minutes to an hour...so Back to Ferrari 488 Challenge or should I stick with F3? Find out over the next year!