How did you get started in racing? What initially attracted you to the sport?
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing IMSA driver: “I started karting at a really young age. It didn’t take long for me to realize it was something I really enjoyed. I started in Australia where I grew up, then moved to Italy. I just kept moving up to bigger cars with more power from there!”
What is your earliest racing memory?
RB: “I have a vague memory of when my dad was still racing rally cars. I remember going out into the bush to watch him race. I was probably only two or three years old. I started going to races on a regular basis about the age of five to watch sprint cars.”
Who was your favorite racer growing up and why?
RB: “Steve Kinser, because he used to come out to Australia with the Americans every Christmastime. They took dirt track racing to another level when they’d come out to Australia.”
Did you have anyone you considered a mentor in the racing world? Who was it and how have they helped you?
RB: “Besides my dad, who was an obvious mentor, I grew up watching Australian Sprint car driver Garry Rush. He was more of an idol, someone I looked up to, but a great example of a race car driver. He gave me one of his trophies when I was five years old, right after a race. It was such a special moment for me. Now I’ve been able to do the same and I know what that feels like for the kids, because I remember what it was like for me. He was a family friend, but he was an idol and someone I looked up to.”
What are you most proud of in your racing career?
RB: “I think there are so many races I could pick I’ve been proud of, but I’m mostly proud of the way I’ve gone about my career. I think I’ve been a great example of a race car driver: a good sportsman; a fair racer.”
How would you describe your racing style?
RB: “I think it’s something I’ve worked on throughout my career. Depending on the car I’ve been racing, I’ve tried to tune my driving style to what fits best for that car. I haven’t really had just one driving style.”
If you weren’t racing, what do you think you’d be doing?
RB: “I never had to think about pursuing a different career. I’ve been lucky that way. Maybe I’d try downhill skiing! I feel like there may be a connection between a race car driver and downhill skiiers. I’ve never done it, but maybe I could have had a future there. I didn’t have snow growing up, though, so it was probably never going to happen (laughing)!”
What are some challenges that are unique to your sport compared to other racing series?
RB: “The main thing is having to share the car with a teammate, the compromise involved with that. You work together so you’re not compromising, but there always is a little bit. You have to work on building a car that is best for the average of both drivers in the car. You have to work on driver changes. It really makes you focus on working as a team rather an as an individual, as you do in other forms of racing.”
What is the best piece of racing advice you’ve been given?
RB: “Probably advice from Rick Mears, about how the decisions you make at the end of the race are going to be quite different to the ones you make at the beginning of the race. The point is to be there at the end to go racing when it counts and not to throw your race away at the start.”
Do you have any racing-related superstitions?
RB: “I’m not a fan of the number 13, but I’m not really superstitious. Or I try not to be (laughing).”
How do you relax when you have free time away from racing?
RB: “I spend a lot of time with my wife (Nicole) and my girls (Finley and Blake). A lot of my time is spent training, which I really enjoy. Lately, I’ve been more into running. I’ve started to look into proper long-distance running schedules.”