Whilst the 2023 field are enjoying their downtime over the summer break, let’s get to know the Williams Academy junior a little better. Browning gives us the lowdown on the pivotal moments in his racing career, his favourite way to unwind and a surprising secret talent.
NAME: Luke Browning DATE OF BIRTH: 31/01/2002 NATIONALITY: British 2023 TEAM: Hitech Pulse-Eight
EARLIEST RACING MEMORY?
“My earliest racing memory has to be going karting in 2012/2013. It was my first time climbing into a cadet kart.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RACING STYLE?
“Very aggressive. As a driver you have to adapt to what suits the car with different styles, but generally I’m one for pushing entries and trying to find the limit quickly. I think that helps with my driving in the wet, generally wet weather driving really suits me and I think it all comes down to having the confidence to push on initially and then sort of catch it a little bit later. Ultimately, that can bite you a little bit if you don’t reign it in quick enough.”
WHO IS YOUR RACING HERO?
“Picking a hero is difficult. I really respect what Max Verstappen has done, coming into the sport at 17 and fighting the guys that are at absolutely the top of their game at that point. Then doing things that people just haven’t sort of seen with his overtakes, his fire and anger that he’s got instilled in him. It’s really impressive and equally something I want to follow.”
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST RACING ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
“I’ve got a few highlights in my career that helped me get to where I am – the British F4 Championship, British F3 which is the newly named GB3 Championship was pretty big. I think the thing that really changed my career is was the 2022 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, being put up against basically the top four British drivers in the country.
"I got picked for the shootout and the winner gets £200,000, an F1 test, along with the recognition of being the award winner. The long list of people that have won that award and have gone to be successful is incredible. It’s headed by Vice President Derek Warwick and the opportunity to be in the BRDC, the phone rang after that and that’s what ultimately enabled me to be able to drive this year I think.”
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A RACING DRIVER?
“Driving the car! It’s boring but driving the car. I think I need the adrenaline, I need that rush and if it wouldn’t be this it would be skydiving or motocross. I need something to get that fire out. I’m not necessarily a fiery person in my home life, I’d have to do a lot to make me like that. Usually I’m level-headed in that sense, but I need something to let my steam out on or otherwise I go crazy.
“Racing is perfect for that and having that adrenaline. For example, driving on the streets of Monaco for me is the absolute cherry on the cake and having the ability to go on and win at places like that is even more of a special achievement. Hopefully, as I get higher and higher in my career, get better experience and gel with the team around me, these results will come.”
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM RACING?
“I do a lot of sim racing. I enjoy sim racing at home, so I guess I relax away from racing by racing (laughs). I’m part of a very well accomplished sim racing team called Redline and I’m proud to be with them. I’d like to do more races with them as soon as I get some more free time. I did the Le Mans Virtual Series at the start of the year and I’m trying to get myself back into iRacing more, which I’ve been away from for a couple of years now with my racing commitments.
“I really enjoy sim racing and I enjoy spending time online generally, whether it be on Discord or first-person shooting games. I have been known to practice through the night. Usually, the hours between 11pm and 2am is when I do the best work on the simulator, sometimes I can be up a little bit late but never before a race weekend. There’s some sort of focus I get when I’m not being bothered for multiple hours. I can get into these stints in the middle of the night and the lap times are outrageous.
“I also enjoy fitness, I like riding my bike, I play tennis and like roller-skating. My dad and I are sometimes found going around the local village unicycling, we’re a bit of an odd family but we enjoy it.”
DO YOU HAVE A SECRET TALENT?
“I’ve got quite a lot of weird, stupid talents that are just a bit useless in life in general. I guess unicycling is one of them, I can do the Rubik’s Cube and I quite like challenging my brain to different things. To be honest, I think it’s the complete influence of my dad, he’s absolutely crazy. My mum and dad are complete opposites more or less. My mum is the most chilled out person you could ever meet and my dad is where I get my fiery side from, I think and I reckon I’m somewhere in the middle.”
FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE F3 CALENDAR?
“I think it has to be my home race at Silverstone, you can’t beat it! Obviously, Monaco was so special for me, watching from when I was young on the TV. To go and race around the streets that the actual historic heroes raced around was incredible. I really enjoyed that, but I think ultimately, I want to win in front of my home crowd.”