Russell Laidler made his racing debut in 2013, went on to only do 3-4 rounds during 2014, getting on the podium twice, but had to sit out of racing during 2015. Although he has wanted to since he was a small child. His passion for wanting to race suddenly became possible when Russell met John Hillon from the MK2 Golf GTi championship at a Volkswagen show. Russell has always felt he would not be able to fund a racing career due to the costs involved. He discussed the costs and the requirements of what he would need and what specs a car would have to be to meet the regulations to race, it was then that he realised that a racing career would be possible for him.

Before any race weekend Russell spends a bit of time on iRacing to give himself a good idea of the racing lines and helps him remember visual places around the circuit to use as brake markers. It also helps him to familiarise himself with the circuit. If the circuit he is going to race on is not on iRacing he watches on board videos from other drivers on YouTube.

Russell’s favourite past times are sim racing and online gaming as it keeps his reactions sharp and gets him ready for his next races. His ultimate career goal is to eventually run his own business.

Budget has always been a big concern of Russell’s as he has to fund his own racing. He feels that jobs don’t pay that well around where he lives and he lives quite a distance away from race tracks. This means it adds quite a chunk to his costs of racing, it’s a 750 mile round trip if he travels to race at Brands Hatch located in Kent. However, Russell has been quite lucky and had some great sponsors supporting him through his racing.

Russell’s favourite old styled cars are the 80s hatchback cars such as the MK1 and 2 GTis, 205, Renault 5 turbos etc. However, anything old and VW related he likes. He does not have a favourite new car but he does love the new R Passat. Russell prefers front wheel drive cars but would also love to have another go in a rear engine rear wheel drive car.

His dream race car would be the Volvo 850 R which was driven by Rickard Rydell in the British Touring Car Championship during 1996. Russell’s dream road car to own would be a Porsche 930 turbo.

Russell races in the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship. He chose this championship because he feels that it is a great championship and he gets on with the other competitors. Also he feels that the level of competition is second to none. The reason Russell chose to race a Volkswagen Golf MK2 is because it was cheap, he built it himself and it is a 1980s hot hatch, which he is in love with. The car also does not run with any TSC/ABS electronic stuff as it is an old car. Russell prefers the car not to have the electronics like the newer racing cars do as he feels it ruins the feel of the car.

© Fay Tilley 21st February 2016

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