My life in cars Alex Albon

My life in cars Alex Albon

The Red Bull F1 and AF Corse DTM driver on growing up with Minis in Milton Keynes

My first word was Ferrari, well I used to say “Rari”, but it was clear that I’d caught the bug for cars pretty immediately. My parents didn’t drive anything interesting at all. We had a lot of American cars actually. I have a big family – four other siblings and my mum and dad – so we had to have seven seaters. We’d always end up with weird Lincolns or Mercurys.

Those did have TVs in the headrests though, so we would bring a PlayStation 2 and play racing games in the back of the car. We also had a family Peugeot 407 estate at one point. I’d be at school Monday to Friday, and then I’d leave for the racetrack early on a Saturday morning. I’d wake up at 4am and my dad would fold the rear seats down and make a bed in the back. I was probably seven or eight years old at the time and I’d sleep for the full journey and then wake up ready for practice.

It was probably slightly illegal, if not a little bit frowned upon. When I was around 15 we lived on a farm and I had a classic Mini which was technically my first car. I’d pretend to be a taxi driver for my siblings; that was until my friend told me he knew how to drive, but he clearly didn’t and he crashed it. I’ve always wanted another. I’d probably have to remove the back seats and bring the seating position back to fit in it properly, but I’d fit a super fast steering rack and maybe even make it rear-wheel drive. That would be fun. I got my road licence when I was 18. I didn’t pass first time – I failed on parking. Racing drivers aren’t designed to go backwards. I only just passed second time around too. I went onto my stepdad’s insurance after that – he had a Mini JCW. If you know Milton Keynes, you’ll know it’s just one roundabout after another, and a JCW is quicker than pretty much anything there. My wheels paid the price – I destroyed all four alloys trying to find the fastest line. I’m much better at it now, but I was trying to find the limits back then. I learnt some good lessons. If you want to be quick around Milton Keynes you need to be using all of the road… safely though, of course! I only bought a car myself for the first time last year – it’s a basic but super comfortable Mercedes-Benz GLE. I was mostly running around in the Mini until I got to F1, then I was given a Honda Civic Type R. That was really nice, although I wasn’t too kind to the wheels on that either. Again it was quicker than any supercar around Milton Keynes. I took it to Skye in Scotland with my girlfriend, although I think I enjoyed it more than she did. I had an Aston Martin DB11 after that. We had different company cars at every track though, usually a Vantage or DB11. That was cool. We did plenty of track days too, especially in 2019. I remember one in Austria where it was snowing – you’d hit black ice and get completely out of control but the passengers would think “ah that’s great he’s sliding it around”. I was thinking “you have no idea how close we were to crashing there”.

ALEX’S DREAM GARAGE Which cars will make the podium?

  • SINGER PORSCHE 911 I’d go for a restomod like this, the craftsmanship and detail are insane
  • ALFAHOLICS GTA-R I really like their work at Alfaholics, I don’t like too much electronic input.
  • BMW M3 TOURING I’d probably wait for the M3 Touring. I’m not a fan of the grille, maybe I could get it remodelled.
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