The 48-year-old actor faces 26 pilots from 14 nations and in an interview talks about his passion for racing, matchbox cars and survival training in the Supercup.
At what stage did you discover your passion for motorsport?
“As a boy I sometimes sat on a bench at the side of the road and watched the cars drive by. I found the cars I didn’t recognise cool. These days you can find everything on the Internet, but it was different back then. My father always brought home matchbox cars for me and we often watched car races on television or followed the action on the radio.”
What do you find so exciting about racing?
“It’s the huge challenge of having to go to your limit. The combination of emotion and discipline that motor racing demands is somewhat addictive.”
What do you find so special about the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup?
“It’s the car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. It’s definitely a great race car. For me, the Supercup gives me the chance to take part in a fantastic competition and to contest Porsche’s most important race series. I’m looking forward to the challenge of contesting a sprint race. In my endurance racing career to now I learned how to get the most out of a racing car and still be on the safe side. The Supercup is more like survival training at full throttle instead of having to conserve the car over the distance.”
What motivates you in racing and in life in general?
“I always like to do my best. It’s great to build personal and professional relationships with people you like and respect and to get these things back in return. If you have that in your life then you’ll succeed in everything you do.”
Why do you think motor racing attracts so many fans?
“It’s very probably the same attributes that make motor racing so attractive for us drivers – excitement and enthusiasm. When we watch a race all of our senses respond. It’s a great experience. Not every sport can make this claim. Motorsport has an incredible appeal which has made it popular all over the world. You also feel this in Formula 1!”
What do your family and friends think about your involvement in motor racing?
“My family give me huge support and it’s thanks to my wife that I got involved in racing in the first place. She always saw me sitting in front of the TV watching a race and one day she said I should try it myself. She has always backed me, despite sometimes wondering why I get up at 4am after weeks of hard work to go to a race. Racing has allowed me to meet some very special people who now play a major role in my life?”
If you had to choose between a career in motor racing or acting, what would take highest priority?
“The job as a race driver is much more satisfying than acting. Not a lot changes in television work, but in racing things change constantly – every lap, every corner and every moment of the day. I find racing very exciting.”
Is it difficult to combine the two interests of motorsport and acting?
“Yes, it’s a constant challenge, but the Hollywood folk and especially the people in “Grey’s Anatomy” are very cooperative and understanding. It’s never very easy, but I’m supported by several great people in both acting and motorsport. Nothing I’ve achieved in Hollywood by now has given me as much satisfaction as my races at Le Mans. But one day I hope to find that same satisfaction in Hollywood.”