Family support is always a crucial part of any young driver’s journey and Luke Browning’s no exception to that. Whether they’re related or friends that have become part of the clan, they’ve left a clear impact in shaping the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver and his career.
After scoring points in his debut Formula 3 weekend, Browning reflects on those key players on his path to the grid and the inspiration he’s taken from those who have come before him who’ve made the journey all the way to Formula 1.
“My mum and my dad have been a pretty big influence, coming from a humble background, what their support has allowed me to do and build up from a steady foundation. When I started racing, my mum was very nervous, definitely a lot more nervous than my dad. My dad’s always sort of pushed me into it, not necessarily from a point of view of wanting to go racing professionally, but just in terms of motorsport and anything with an engine in, he was right behind it.
“I’ve enjoyed the speed and everything and it’s gradually got more serious. I grew up watching motorsport with my dad from such a young age, but no one in the family has been down the motorsport career route. I’m sort of the first one down the line of hopefully making a success out of it and it’s going well so far. Hopefully, this season will prove me right!
“My dad couldn’t really teach me anything to do with driving (laughs). He tried his best, even though he’s not a racing driver, we just turned up karting for fun. I just seemed to take to it quite naturally and I just loved it. I think when you really love something and you get behind it, you get better and better at it. I never got tired of learning, so I’m still on that learning curve now. Thankfully, Hitech have taken me under their wing, but hopefully I’ll be doing a lot more learning this year.
“They’ve been a massive support; they’ve sacrificed everything to help me. Fortunately, it’s paid off to get to this point, but a lot of people have sacrificed just as much as we have and haven’t managed to make that step into the European racing scene. So, I’m very fortunate, very grateful to my family and the future’s looking bright now.”
HIS ‘GRANDAD’ & BIGGEST FAN
“He’s pretty much part of the family. Basically, he’s my next-door neighbour, but he was such a big influence on me growing up. He used to take me out everywhere, he was pretty much my dad when my dad was at work. So, I ended up calling him grandad/Uncle Fred. He’s moved away now, but we still speak, and he’s been a great influence on me for sure.
“He’s someone that I’d always go and talk to about my racing. He’s someone that gives me really valuable advice, especially because motorsport is an up-and-down thing. It’s a like a rollercoaster and managing your head and emotions is crucial, and he’s the man for that. One big piece of advice he gave me was to manage the process and the outcome will sort itself out.
“I think he’s my biggest fan! He watches everything and I’m really grateful for it. He gave me some really valuable advice looking to the future, he’s really helped me. Obviously, it’s a big step coming into the European racing scene. I think I managed to get my head around the national series, winning British F4 and GB3 was great, but this is a big step up now.
“It’s time to realise that it’s going to get pretty serious, it’s going to be close and getting past the point of how far your ability will take you to the point where it’s actually going to be about how mentally strong you are.”
FORMULA 1 LEGENDS
“I think you’ve got to look at the drivers from the past, the greats – look at Ayrton Senna. I mean even Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen, look at what they’re doing at the moment. I try to take little bits of everyone, there’s not necessarily one driver that I look up to in particular.
“I like the raw pace and aggressiveness of Max, and how he’s able to get through the pack and his overtakes are incredible. You look at what Hamilton’s done in terms of pure achievement, it’s incredible. How he’s managed to keep his head for that many years and stay on top of it for that long, it’s incredibly difficult and there’s a lot of mental toll on it.
“You learn a lot from watching motorsports. At the end of the day, it’s all about watching what people are doing and trying to learn from it, and then do your own spin on it almost. There are multiple ways to go around the track at almost the same pace or the fastest, then you’ve got to take your own style into it and hope that it’s quick.”